Thursday, July 28, 2005
bracelets or bust!!
Alright, that's it. I'm having a really miserable week and I'm enlisting the help of my readers to help make me feel better. How? It's quite simple, really. We make a deal..... I will post again just as soon as I sell FIVE more bracelets. Yes, you heard me... no more posting until a few more fine readers step up to bat and help me reach my dream. And NO Sam, this does NOT mean you can buy five since you have done MORE than anyone else to help me in all this. I'm sorry I have to do this folks, but desperate times call for desperate measures and it seems that everyone has forgotten about this because I backed off on the nagging.

Ok? Ok. Here's hoping my blog won't be on hiatus for too long....
(updates will be added at the bottom of this post)

UPDATE: 1 bracelet down, 4 to go. A great big thanks to TechWench who managed to make me smile and applaud when I saw her order and little note that came with it. Thanks, I owe you a big wet one. *wink*

UPDATE: In a first EVER cross promotion, TechWench (webdesign goddess that she is) is offering a discount on a customized template to anyone who buys a bracelet from me. For full details go here. This is such an unbelievably good deal you would be foolish to pass it up! I think I owe TechWench more than a big wet one, now... heh. THANK YOU!!!

UPDATE: YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 bracelets down, 3 to go! A big shout out to 3T, who decided to take advantage of the wonderful (and limited time!) cross promotion offered by TechWench. Thanks for your support!!

UPDATE: I am back from visiting my grandma up north, and still riding the long weekend high. I was thrilled to come home and find an order for a bracelet from one of the wonderful staff at Livnot. Toda raba, Yehonatan!!!! I will mail it out tomorrow!
3 bracelets down, 2 to go!

UPDATE: There is hope!!!!! I just received another order for a bracelet from Chana and Alan in Phoenix, Az. Thank you so very much, you have brought me nearly to the end of this blog hostage taking!! ONLY ONE MORE TO GO!!! Who will be the one to bring me back to blogging and help send me to Israel all with one swift purchase??

FINAL UPDATE: I just received an email from MatzahNatcho saying she will be mailing me money for a bracelet, thereby ending this hostage seige with the blog. Thank you SO MUCH for your generous purchase... it will take me far. And just in time! Now I can blog about this crazy plane crash here in Toronto! Go to MatzahNacho's blog as a thank you for ending the madness! :-D

And a BIG thank you to one and all for your patience and kindness. I am humbled by your generosity. This includes Cassiopeia who just went to the trouble write a new plug for me in her blog, complete with photo and big description (and nod to ocB who designed my sexy "help celestial blue" button!). Thank you Cassiopeia, just because the hostage seige has ended doesn't mean my need for help has. I need all the publicity I can get, so it is much appreciated. Similar thanks goes to Yossef for yet another mention of me on his blog (his efforts to get me to Israel have been very sweet) and to my new blogging buddy, Peninah, who has also made mention of my plight on one of her blogs;(Firefox users will need to view the blog using IE); she has cheered me up greatly today.

Somehow 'thank you' seems to inadequate sometimes. :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I close my eyes and still I see
I just woke up from such a disturbingly graphic and violent dream that I can only wonder how on earth my brain could come up with such a scenario. I cannot possibly put it up on my dream blog, it's too scary and disturbing. Great way to start my day.

I have a funeral to go to this afternoon. I don't feel like writing a real post today, and we'll see how I feel about it tomorrow.
Meanwhile, be good.

Monday, July 25, 2005
good news and bad news
1) Finished Harry Potter last Thursday at work (shhh!) and rewarded myself with a sushi dinner. I actually really liked the book (my love has dwindled slowly with each book in the series) and like other Potter fans am now dying for the last installment.

2) I had my mom take me out to go shopping for the dreaded bikini because she can put up with my whining and crabbing about how I hate shopping, she spent years listening to it while buying school clothes. Her help paid off, more or less and I bought two bikinis. I'm not in love with either one, but they will do. I *desperately* need colour because I look horribly pastey and white in them. I have no idea how I am going to acquire said colour.

3) I did not manage to go buy a sleeping bag but I did manage to make myself clean my increasingly messy apartment. I always feel better with a clean home, so why is it so hard to get myself to do it?? Oh, and I also have to buy luggage soon too. Cha-ching! CHA-CHING! $$ :-/

4) I pulled out my Hebrew textbook from class to start to refresh my memory a bit before I go on my trip. I think I will start listening to my Hebrew cd's in the car now too. Any Hebrew is better than no Hebrew, I figure. But without a class or a native speaker of hebrew around I am finding it tough. I have questions and nowhere to direct them. Very frustrating.

5) I got news this morning that an old dear friend of mine from highschool has lost his mother. She died at home of cancer. My friends and I are extremely worried about our friend for he has always been an emotionally and mentally unstable fellow at the best of times. We hate to admit it but we believe it's only a matter of time before he commits suicide since his mother was his whole world (he lived at home with her, and he rarely worked). He buried his father when he was a child (the event that I believe lead to his lifetime of mental/emotional difficulties) and his stepfather a few years ago, whom he was very close to. He really has no one left and no money. I hope he is still here when I return from Israel, but between his addictions and bi-polar behaviour I am not hopeful. With no family to ground him it's up to us as his friends to try and help him. He has already had a violent outburst and it meant his mother was sent home to die instead of a hospice.

Another of our friends has gone with him to make the funeral arrangements today, I expect the funeral will be sometime at the end of the week. This news has deeply saddened me and I worry about my friends future.....

6) I just got 4 out of 7 numbers on my lottery ticket which earns me $151 towards my trip. And of course I'll be buying 2 more tickets this week, because what kind of a gambler would I be if I didn't spend the winnings on another chance?

Saturday, July 23, 2005
the ebb and tide of friendship
"Everybody's changing
And I don't feel the same

I had two scary dreams last night involving friends I know either walking away from me or pushing me out of the circle/gang of friends. Weirdly, in one of the dreams Princess Blondie's mother told me that "it would just be best if I left now". Yow, that hurt.

Truth of the matter is that something unexpected has happened during all this planning for my trip to Israel; I have found myself very disconnected from my life now. I feel like I am in a strange limbo as I have had plenty of time to imagine what my life will be like for 5 months in Israel. All this daydreaming and planning and buying and packing has me feeling very disconnected from my current life as it is now and leaves me in a feeling of limbo. I feel like I have one foot here in Canada and one in Israel and it actually doesn't feel altogether good.

A few weeks ago I had a big falling out with two of my closest friends which has had a different impact on me than I would have expected. These girls were two of my greatest confidantes and were important emotional supports for me in my life and upcoming journey. When those friendships abruptly ended I mourned only very briefly and it was then that I began the feeling of great disconnect from my life. (How do I describe this without sounding like I should be in a padded room....?) I guess it just felt like two more things were removed from my life that might keep me attached to my life here. Two more reasons for me missing Canada and my life here are gone.... two more reasons for coming back at all. And while that may seem dramatic, you have to remember that my family is *incredibly* small... so my friends very much serve as my extended family. And when two of those extended family members fall out of grace with me it also puts an incredibly uncomfortable strain on me when seeing the rest of my extended family. As it is, I have become far less social since that falling out with my girlfriends and keep much more to myself now.

I feel like I am a ghost walking around and haunting what was once my life. No longer here, but not yet ready to move on to the next level in Israel. Friendships are evolving right before my eyes.... some have disintegrated completely while others are being stretched and tested. Will they snap? As I take steps towards the biggest journey of my life other friends are also caught up in their own journeys and our paths are diverging rapidly. Friendships I once thought unbreakable I am now not so sure of. On bad days this feeling destroys me... on other days it feels like this is how things are supposed to go. It's all part of the plan to get me to let go and take the leap.

This trip of mine has really brought to light who my steadfast friends are and which ones aren't. I have one friend who not only bought two of my bracelets but he took a bunch of them from me and peddled them around his office and favourite comic shop AND his family dinners. He showed me incredible support, and took up my cause as if it was his own. I have had bloggers, virtual strangers, who have gone out of their way to mention me on their blogs, often several times, and really help get the word out in the vast blogging community. And then there are those friends who hardly acknowledge my trip at all, only ask when they feel obliged to, never mention me on their blogs and only actually call when they need something or need to talk about what's going on with them. They always say that it's when you call for help that you find out who your real friends are, and this has definitely been the case for me, with surprising results.

Clearly I am afraid I will return to find that the gap left by me in the circle of friends will have closed up and I will not be invited back in. You laugh, but these things happen! However, I can't afford to let myself worry about all this. I have to have faith in the remaining friendships and the path that lay before me. I know this is where I must go and what I must do and I know it won't be easy.

"Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
You gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight.

Thursday, July 21, 2005
Bikini Village
I am one of those rare forms of girl who actually does NOT like shopping. I think my opinion of the activity might shift if I were suddenly rich and didn't have to start every search by checking the price tag, but as it stands now, I hate it. I don't like trying clothes on, as I find it a royal pain in the ass to get in and out of clothes repeatedly. Money is always tight, so shopping for me was never done as a pleasantry, always out of necessity. Therefore I only go looking at clothes when I actually need something, never as a form of retail therapy (for me retail therapy generally comes in the form of a new computer/camera/game). It comes as no surprise then that my very least favourite item to shop for is a bathing suit.

Last weekend I decided to pop into the mall on the way home to begin what I know will be a long search for a suitable swimsuit for Israel. While I do have a new bathing suit from last year's trip, I was hoping to get a second one and, perhaps (for once in my LIFE), a 2 piece. I am, for the most part, a one piece/comfort-over-fashion kind of shopper when it comes to swimsuits. This is for generally practical reasons... I intend to actually SWIM in it, as opposed to many girls who just like to lounge around in the sun in theirs. I loathe sitting and baking in the sun, and choose instead to swim, splash around on shore or go scuba diving/snorkeling. I also am not at all comfortable with the idea of a 2 piece suit despite being a girl of petite and fairly well proportioned stature. In other words, I am short and skinny, and by all accounts small breasted. Given that I did not inherit the ample bosom my mother did, I figured.. how hard can it be to get a swimsuit to house what little I have?

I quickly remembered why I don't ever shop alone if it can be helped; I tend to give up very early on in the shopping experience, losing enthusiasm if I don't find something I like fairly quickly. Recognizing this weakness I forced myself to turn around as I was leaving Bikini Village to go back and take a real stab at finding a suit. I had a style in mind that I wanted to try but couldn't find something suitable. Going back for another try I had dropped my standards a bit and grabbed a bunch of suits from the racks and headed into a changeroom (if you can all it that. It was a room of stalls built of straw with shower curtains for doors).

I started with the top, struggling greatly to get it on as the clasp it was made with was somewhat difficult to navigate. Once I had that on I took a step back and had a gander; it looked alright, I thought. So far so good. Then I grabbed the bottoms, in the style of short shorts, if you know what I mean. I put those on and thought... omigod.. I actually look FAT. And no, I am not like all the other girls of the world who think they look fat even though they are skinnier than a post. I know I am skinny and tiny and am never, I mean NEVER insecure about my weight... until that moment. I looked a bit pudgy as the bathing suit highlighted some ripples and lumps on me that I had not noticed prior. I thought.... holy wow, is THIS what happens when you turn 30??? And with that the bathing suit was off, no others were tried on and I was OUTTA there. No bathing suit was procured that day and I have not forced myself back into another bathing suit outing since. Maybe I'll take another crack at it this weekend. Or maybe I'll just live with the suit I have.

Next thing to shop for: a sleeping bag.

3? 4? more blasts in London???
What the *bleep* is goin' on??

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Scotty has been beamed up
I knew from first light this morning that this wasn't going to be my best day. I had been awakened rudely in the night by a picture falling off the wall above my head, landing on the pillow mere inches from head. This scared me beyond words and I could not get back to sleep thatnks to the adrenaline, so I sat up and read more Harry Potter until 1:30am. This then caused me to have some crazy dream that involved me trying to give the Pope (the old one, not the new guy) some kind of potion, all while trying to reassure him that it probably wouldn't kill him. The rest of my night was sleepless as I tossed and turned and got up and walked around my apartment a bit. This made me very sleepy and grumpy at work.

Eventually I started to feel very unwell at work and left early to come home and take care of myself (I am terrified of getting sick and not being able to go to Israel, so when I don't feel well I am *right* on top of the situation). And lucky me, I came home to find that one of my two cats had a vomit festival all over my bedroom carpet. *sigh* Why? WHY must cats be little vomit bags like that? And why can they not do this on the hardwood floor, why must they do it on the beige rug, creating a stain that will never EVER go away? Because this was to be a crummy day, that's why.

All that and James Doohan, "Scotty" from Star Trek, died. I was very sad to hear the news as were all my geek friends (and he was Canadian, EH! Just like William Shatner, EH!!!)

Ok, back to my Harry Potter. 422 pages down, 178 to go.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005
so high it takes my breath away
Ack... I... I can't... can't speak...can't speak right now....
Choking... on the... high... cost of flights... to Israel.
It's gets *marginally* cheaper if I go through BUDAPEST on my way.
Well. I've never been to Budapest before.... apparently there's some Jewish stuff to look at.

'Scuse me... I think I need to go lay down.

Monday, July 18, 2005
Herbie, Corey and Alex
1) I know I've been whining a lot about the weather, but I have to do it again because it's just UNREAL how bloody hot it is. This is Canada for pete's sake, what gives?? 43C/110F for the umpteenth day in a row is simply unacceptable. There are reports of a few heat related deaths over the weekend and this is really no surprise given the amount of smog that likes to linger over Toronto. I too found myself in a moment of panic yesterday as I was hiking across a mall parking lot at a good pace only to find that I couldn't breathe because the air was so thick (it had been raining in the morning so when the sun came out the air was thick as molasses). I panicked as I realized I didn't have my asthma inhaler on me because I never carry it with me (I so rarely use the damn thing) so I had to slow down a moment to catch my breath. Finally I got to my car, got in, and cranked the air conditioning for a bit while I sat and calmed down and took deep breaths. Note to self: get new inhaler from doctor before heading to Israel. How annoying... my asthma is so slight I never even think about it until I get into trouble.

2) I am starting to wake up in the middle of the night in a panic about money and my trip. Money money money.. I hate how much of my time is spent worrying about it. And while it's all well and fine to say that I shouldn't, I sort of need to if I am going to try and buy an airplane ticket this week. So I roll over in the middle of the night, wake a bit, and think.... omigod... did I book a ticket? can I afford to book one? will it get more expensive the longer I wait? It's ridiculous that THIS is what I am thinking about in the middle of the night. This morning as I was sitting in traffic I looked over at a sign at the gas station announcing that the lottery pot this week is at 12 million. *sigh* What I could do with 12 million.

3) Speaking of sleep, I had a dream about Corey last night. I wonder if I should call him again, before I go away. Part of me thinks that's the dumbest idea ever, and opening that old can of worms is a bad plan... but part of me feels inclined to because I am in a good place in my life right now (nightmares aside) and I just want to say hi... see how he's doing. He was popping up on local news a while back which made me think I should check up on him... but then I have Sam in my head telling to stay away. LOL. I dunno... maybe I'll leave that can of worms unopened. But come on.... could going out for one coffee be so bad? :-P

4) A really really sweet girl named Alex has bought a bracelet from me to support my trip, bringing the count up to 107 sold. Alex and I have been emailing back and forth since November when this bright idea first popped in my head, and she has been very supportive and encouraging since she has taken a very similar journey recently. It's really been amazing how many people have come out of the woodwork to say hi and to offer some words of advice or encouragement. Complete strangers have written me to say such nice things!!! Wow... even at this point the journey has taught me so much and enriched my life. Anyway! Bracelets go out today for those who have ordered them over the last few days.

5) Herbie: Fully Loaded wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and much to my surprise (I hope you're sitting down for this) I actually enjoyed being in a theatre full of kids when watching it. Anyone who knows me knows that I get deeply annoyed with chatter during movies, but this time it was so sweet and funny to listen to the kids cheer and jeer throughout the film. It was a nice reminder that these films are made for and enjoyed by kids. Actually, truth be told, it wasn't a bad flick... I laughed a bit here and there and had fun. However, Mean Girls is still the best Lindsay Lohan movie. I musta watched that at least 3 times on the plane ride over to Israel last year.

6) You want me to go to Israel, right? show me some lovin'..... buy a bracelet. All the cool kids are doin' it!!

Sunday, July 17, 2005
all touch but no contact
Well, things don't always go according to plan, now do they?

Friday night, being the swinging single girl that I am, I spent most of the evening unconscious on my couch. What can I say? I was tired. I managed to wake up in time to drag my sorry ass to the store to pick up the new Harry Potter book when it was released at midnight. Then I dragged my ass back home, curled up in bed, and read for about 30 or 40 minutes before I required more sleep. I then woke up Saturday morning just before 8am, had some breakfast, read more Harry Potter.... and then proceeded to have a nap (are we noticing a pattern here? for some reason, reading makes me VERY sleepy, so staying awake past more than say, 20 pages, is a real feat for me. I don't know what the deal is, but it means that it takes me forever to finish a book, as you can well imagine).

When I awoke from my nap I decided that if I was going to get any reading done I had better move it to a location other than my bed. So I got up, pulled on some shorts and a tank top and lugged a chair outside. It was just me, the sun, a bottle of water, and Harry. Much to my chagrin it was a bit of an overcast day.... slightly sunny but oddly I felt the occasional raindrop.... every few minutes.... land on me. Strange weather, but still doable for tanning. About an hour into my reading (you are getting VERY sleepy...) my cell phone in my pocket rang (oh right, just me, the sun, a bottle of water, Harry and my cell. did I forget to mention my cell?). As I looked at my call display I saw that it was my bestest friend Princess Blondie. It would seem the girl had bitten off more than she could chew on a little "home improvement" project and needed my help to finish painting her bedroom by the end of the day. Always happy to help a friend in need, I hopped in my car and headed up to her place. And that was the end of Harry.

My evening was nice as I met with my favourite aunt and uncle for dinner which they were so kind as to pay for (yay! steak and lobster for me please!). Later on my parents were invited to join us for a coffee and dessert back at the hotel restaurant, which was also nice. What sucked was that out of everybody at the table... all over 50, except for moi.... *I* was the one who wanted to end the evening at 10pm so I could go to bed. Colour me embarrassed. I'm telling you, painting was exhausting!!

I figured today would be the day I would do my tanning since the plans were a washout yesterday. But when I got up at 7am to head out to sit with my meditation group for a few hours I soon found out that today is a very rainy day. *groan* No sun for this girl. And in case you thought rain had a way of cooling off raging hot temperature... well you'd be wrong. Now it's hotter than ever, FOGGY, and air that is thicker than ever. It's sticky and nasty and not at all sunny now that I want it to be. Weather Gods be damned!!!

Alright. I'm going to go read me some Harry Potter. And after that I think I am being dragged out to see Herbie: Fully Loaded. I must really love my friend a lot.

Friday, July 15, 2005
all I need to relax is a little Pot
I'm stressing.
Work is stressing me out.
Thinking about money and my trip to Israel is stressing me out.
My plan to combat this stress: go to the bookstore at midnight, buy the new Harry Potter book, and spend tomorrow basking in the sun reading and trying desperately to get some colour before I go to Israel so I don't fry in the Middle Eastern sun. Please oh please may I get a tan!!!

have a good weekend, everyone.
Shabat Shalom

Thursday, July 14, 2005
good news and bad news
Ok, so..... I finally ..FINALLY got word about the financial aid for my trip. Yes, I will be getting some assistance, no it's not as much as I was hoping for (but really, is it ever? lol). This means I am several thousands short and I need to crack the whip on you guys to help me scrape the rest of the money together. In the last couple of days I have received a few more orders for bracelets which makes me SO happy. I even got an e-mail from someone in Spain asking how she could buy 3 bracelets. Given that I am not a speaker of Spanish I enlisted the help of my co-worker from Uruguay to help me write my reply, and presto! I got an order for three more bracelets! Hurray!!

This has been a wonderful fundraising adventure as I have sent bracelets to the USA, Australia, Holland, Spain and of course Israel. This worldwide support has been an eye opener for me and something I will never ever forget. My life is about to take a dramatic turn as I choose a new path, and you have all had a great deal to do with that. I am glad you will be able to follow me through my blog on my journey so you can see where your money is going. *wink*

I am very happy to report that my friend Tango has started a new blog which will, of course, be added to my blogroll. To recap, Tango had emailed me a month or two ago (along with several other Jewish bloggers) in an effort to get a survey filled out for a paper he was doing. And before you know it we had hit it off, became friends, emailed each other back and forth and he was kind enough to buy two of my bracelets to help me get to Israel (further proof that you don't need to be Jewish to buy these bracelets, folks!). Check out his latest blog entry where he demonstrates his Use #231 for my bracelets. Certainly better than Use # 132 and comparable to Laurence's use of it as a cat toy. Tango is hilarious.. pop over to his blog and say hi.

All in all this has been an emotional rollercoaster ride as I have struggled to make this trip happen. I waiver between excited and stressed pretty much hourly. Deborah over in the Livnot offices has been a rock for me while I switch between moods... "I can do this" one day, and then "I just can't afford to do this" the next. If not for Deborah's constant efforts and pep talks I no doubt would have given up at some point, which leads me to think this girl is in the right job and is right where she is meant to be. She, along with Gerald, Susie and Laurie, have been the most fantastic support system and have been instrumental in making this happen. I look forward to thanking you all in person in September....

As for my parents.... they are trying their best to put on a happy face despite the fact that I know they are terrified that I am going for so long. My mother is worried about my safety (that recent suicide bomber in Israel didn't help things at all, with her) and my father is convinced that I am going to fall in love with an Israeli boy and never come back. I have been spending HOURS putting together a separate blog for my parents and friends (since I prefer they stay off this one) and have been carefully loading it with links to information about Israel in an effort to help calm fears.

When the suicide bomber struck Israel the other day I was given an opportunity to take my mother through a dry run as to what she can do when she hears such news. I sat her down at the computer and got her to open the new blog I made and to begin taking the steps to get information. Click these Israeli news sites. Check the map to see where the incident took place. If you are worried I might be there check prior emails to see where I said I'd be in the coming days. If you haven't heard from me and aren't sure where I am you can call one of my friends over in Israel or call Livnot. Worst case scenario the news sites provide emergency numbers but that should be a last resort since I will be fine and you don't really need to panic. :-)

But I ask you... how surreal is it that I have to teach my mother such a thing before I go away on a trip? I have to actually train her on what steps to take when she hears news of a suicide bomber in Israel (because my parents know very very little about Israel). She's lucky that I have the unfortunate experience of how to find information when something happens, since I have people I care about in Israel. I know her stress all too well so I am trying to find ways to help her combat her fears. I am hoping that by teaching her this and exposing her to more information about Israel, she will feel at least a little more relaxed. That and a webcam will hopefully help. *fingers crossed* But in the end... she is a mom, and they are built to worry. ;-)

UPDATE: A woman was killed in Israel today when Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket into Israel proper and struck a home. To those that would say Israel should show some restraint, tell me, what would YOUR country do? Do you think the USA, for example, would just stand by while suicide bombers blew themselves up in your city centres? What if Mexico started firing rockets into Texas... do you think George W would just sit back and take it, show restraint, and attempt to negotiate with the terrorists? I think not... so why is Israel expected to?

3 things
1) I cannot BELIEVE the heat wave that is sucking the life out of my city right now. 43C/110F is just not normal for Toronto, let alone for a week or two straight. We just aren't equipped to deal with this kind of heat constantly. I swear that my mother had something to do with this and is using it as a way to scare me away from going to Israel. LOL! "Ya, you think it's hot HERE? Wait until you go to Israel!" Oh yeah? well I'm looking at the weather for Israel right now and it's about 10 degress cooler, so I'll take Tel Aviv over Toronto right now, thank you very much.

Today I went up to my co-worker from Burundi, Africa and asked her "Is it hot enough for ya??" (the most hated question of all on days like this) to which she said it was too hot. I pointed out that she was from AFRICA and that I ordered up this heat so that she could feel at home. After a good chuckle she said it's hotter here than Burundi because of the humidity... "It's not like this in Africa!! Here... it's too fucking hot!!" Ha! I can't believe she dropped the F-bomb, but this tends to happen a lot when talking about the weather lately.

2) Would the person arriving here using SiteJot please raise his/her hand? I have some questions about it and being a user I figure you can help me out. Thanks. :-)

3) I simply cannot stop eating this spinach pizza. If you can believe it, I actually prefer it over pizza you can order from a pizza place. It's just that good and I can only wonder... is it bad to eat it 3 -5 times a week??

Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I once had a very good friend....a long time ago... a lifetime ago, even. Today is her birthday, and even through the separation of space and time I have not forgotten this. So if you happen across my blog on this day, Happy Birthday, old friend. ;-)

(and as always, happy birthday to two of the sexiest men ever, Patrick Stewart and Harrison Ford)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
because we could all use a little good news right about now...
I have sold two more bracelets. Yesterday I received an order from my darling friend, Hasidic Gentile over in Holland and just now I got an order from Warren in Worcester, MA. Hasidic, yours is going out this afternoon, Warren (and anyone else who orders in the next week) yours will take a little longer as I have more being made even as we speak. I will ship it out as soon as I can, I promise.

I can only assume I got this most recent order because of another wonderful plug that Laurence has given me over on his blog, showing one of his cats posing with my bracelet. For a gallery of kitties-with-celestial blue's-bracelet click here. It warms my heart to no end to see those kitties with my bracelet. Thank you SO much for your continued support Laurence..... I deeply appreciate your efforts.

UPDATE: WOW! I just got another order from Donna in Danvers, MA! Thank you so much!!

get me on a plane to Israel. NOW.
A suicide bomber has attacked outside a shopping mall north of Tel Aviv.
I am angry. Very very angry.
And yes, you heard me right... when things like this happen I would rather be there than here. Naive? Perhaps... but I'd rather stand with Israel than feel helpless here.

"I got soul, but I'm not a soldier."

Sunday, July 10, 2005
100 down... 100 to go!
I am proud to announce that I have sold 100 bracelets in my fundraising effort. I thank everyone who has brought me to this point, especially Tzaddi who pushed me over the top by buying the 100th bracelet.

As for those who haven't bought one yet, I have to wonder.... why not?

Thursday, July 07, 2005
rat bastard terrorists
I am stunned at the news of a multi-attack by terrorists in London, England. I was terrified as I went to my computer to get details since my friend takes the subway/Tube system to London in the morning to get to work. I was relieved to find an email from him in my inbox.

I am still in shock as I watch the details. And so help me god, if George W. Bush uses this to his advantage and says how this won't rock "our resolve" in fighting the "war on terror" I'll gag.

Also, this had better make Britons have a huge appreciation for what Israel is up against since they have been very VERY critical of Israel over the years.

Now I am heading over to other blogs to make sure Gilly and Yosef's families are ok.

UPDATE: Just got an email from my friend in London...

"If I had stayed at home for one more coffee I would have been on the wrong train but thankfully I was not. I guess it's just is not my time. Will write more when and if I get home today."

This from a guy who has lived in Israel and had scuds fly over his head. I bet he thought he left this sort of thing behind when he left Israel. *sigh* He, like millions of others, will be stranded away from home for the foreseeable future as all transportation in and out of the city has been suspended. Here's hoping he makes it home safe and sound.

UPDATE 2: Where there is darkness, let there be light! I would like to thank Shayna in Florida, Aaron in Kentucky and my friend/co-worker Angela for your support by buying a bracelet to help send me to Israel. Once again when I am down and out, someone comes along and picks me up. Your timing couldn't be better, thank you so much. That brings my count to 99 bracelets sold.... and now more than ever, I want to get to Israel.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Out of Africa
One of the things I love about my place of work (indeed, of Canada in general) is how very multi-cultural it is. We are a country of immigrants, and I love getting to know other cultures through conversations with people I run into or those I work with. I am fascinated by stories of those who have immigrated here, I suppose in large part because I can't imagine how hard it must be to just pack up everything and move to a completely foreign country, often one in which a different language is spoken. In my office alone we have people from Italy, Uruguay, Croatia, India, Guyana and most recently Burundi.

My new co-worker, whom I now call Miss Burundi has been subject to my usual interrogation that I give upon learning that someone is from another country. Where are you from? How long have you been here? What languages do you speak? Did you speak English before you came here? Why did you leave your country? Will you ever go back? Do you like it here? How do you like the winters? What don't you like? And so on...

I often like to read up on someone's country so that I can then ask more specific questions, and also because I like to learn more about other places. Geography has always been of great interest to me. So when I found out that my new friend was from Burundi (just outside of Rwanda in Africa) I began reading. In the morning I would walk into her office and strike up a conversation about what I had learned. One day we were discussing languages (the reason she was hired here is because she speaks fluent French, as is common in African countries, many of which are former French colonies) and how I have "language envy" of anyone who speaks more than one language. I told her I am desperate to learn Hebrew and her ears perked up and she said that she LOVES Jews. Well, you can well imagine my confusion at this statement.... Jews are not a particularly popular folk, and indeed, it's rare to find someone who professes to love and admire them! (in fact, she shook my hand when she learned I was Jewish!) She told me that the Jews helped bring awareness to the plight of her people who were being wiped out by genocide in her country. She said that she identified with the Jews as a persecuted minority and that she appreciated all that the Jews had done to help her people. This is something I did not know!!

Later that day I decided to look up the flag for the country of Burundi, another little thing I love to do. When I found it I could not believe my eyes; the flag has several stripes, and three stars. Stars that look exactly like the Star of David you find on the wings of the planes in the Israeli Air Force! Could this be a coincidence? I don't know but I have to admit... it made me feel like I had a little bond with my new friend, you know? Like we have a little something in common.

Miss Burundi and I also talked about my trip to Israel which she was sweetly supportive of and thought it would be a great adventure for me. I think so too, and I can't wait to share my own stories of distant lands....

(For more information about Burundi you can go here and here.)

War of the Worlds
I'd like to thank Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg for ensuring I had a fitful night's sleep. Let this be a lesson to you, kiddies.... no watching War of the Worlds just before you go to bed! The viewing of this movie coupled with the fact that this minor cold I've had since Sunday night that took a turn for the decidely worse last night, meant that I tossed and turned and got very little sleep. If I wasn't sitting up and hacking and coughing or fumbling my way into the bathroom in the dark for cold remedies, I was having nightmares that giant robots and aliens were taking over the world and I had to develop my emergency plan and begin to stock pile food. I kept falling asleep for 30 minutes here and there and each time I would pick up where I left off..... under attack and running for my life. It's safe to say I feel like complete garbage today at work and I can't wait to go home and go back to bed.

So what did I think of the movie? I liked it. It had it's scary moments and many times I caught myself holding my breath or tensed up because of the scene. When Tom hid behind a wall we ALL hid behind the wall and held our breath so as to not give him away. It was scary and sometimes even graphic... and made me wonder how all those 9 year olds in the theatre were going to sleep that night (little did I know it would become such a problem for me). I had read several reviews of the movie and they all said basically the same thing.... the movie is truly fantastic... until the ending. So I was a bit leery in terms of how it was going to end and yes, found that the ending fell a bit short. Not horribly so, but it was mildly disappointing. I'm not sure what kind of an ending would have satisfied me, but that one didn't do the trick. It was sufficient, but not on par with the rest of the movie.

As for the rest of the actors, I have to say (at the risk of sounding like I am hopping on the Dakota Fanning bandwagon)... that little girl has some *serious* talent. At one point while I was watching the movie I actually thought... this scene could not be pulled off if that girl didn't act so damn well. Tom would just look like a crying fool if it weren't for her extremely well played emotion that gave meaning and depth to the whole scene and gave meaning to the crying of Tom's character. It's a given that Tom, with all his experience and talent can cry on cue, but for this little girl to be able to convey such huge emotion at so young an age in life and career.... was truly impressive. I really have to tip my hat to this girl, she was amazing. Her big eyes told you exactly what she was seeing off camera, and it was terrifying. Her tears were huge and heartbreaking and you wanted to just scoop her up in your arms and sweep her away from all the bad and scary stuff.

Then there's Tim Robbins, who isn't getting nearly enough press for his character. Yes it's a fairly small role but he plays it so very well. Unlike his usual likeable chracters he comes across as a bit crazed and maniacal and it was very entertaining to watch. I applaud him for taking such a small role and making it his own, it was great.

Overall I still recommend it despite the weak ending, as the invasion for the first half of the movie is truly terrifying and scary. It's well worth it and it gets you thinking... what would *I* do in those circumstances?

Monday, July 04, 2005
weekend recap and birthday wishes
Happy Birthday to my big brother (see an adorable picture of my brother and I as kids here) and to the United States of America! I hope you guys are enjoying your long weekend and having a great time!

What a crazy weekend I had. Friday I just kind of kicked back and obsessively played Deus Ex 2 on my computer (actually, I obsessively played it at every opportunity this weekend.... I'm so close to finishing it!!). Saturday I was up at the crack of dawn to meet up with my friend to put up signs for our garage sale (we had technical difficulties on Friday and couldn't) and then the madness began. The signs said the sale was from 9am - 2pm, but people were swarming us at 8am as we were setting up. By the end of the day I had made $100 towards my trip on stuff that I otherwise would have given away or tossed out, so that was good. The second day was much less successful, and I only brought in about $10 (most of the good stuff was gone by Sunday). Overall it was a great weekend and I made just over $200 towards my trip to Israel. Slowly, slowly...

I learned two thing during my garage sale this weekend.... (1) that I may never know what it's like to have a tan. I only burn. (2) I don't have the personality to do garage sales and tend to get very grumpy with people who don't try to barter on a price so much as wear you down and annoy you until you agree to their price.

I got burned again, which is just plain stupid considering I got burned last weekend. Happily I didn't get burned in the exact same parts I did before, but rather, foraged a new burn in fresh territory. You can clearly see where I could reach my back and shoulders when applying the sunblock and where I could not. I have the dumbest looking burns ever; a triangle here, a stripe there. Red patches look pretty damn sexy when you're nekkid, lemme tell ya.

One thing that North Americans are not very good at is bartering. We live in nations where there aren't so many markets, just mostly malls where pricing is fixed and usually non-negotiable. Not so with the foreigners who came to my garage sale and drove me batty. In particular there was an old Asian lady (and this is not a racist thing so please don't go there... in these parts the Asians are renowned for being particularly aggressive in their bargaining) who would NOT stop asking for a lower price despite being told repeatedly what the final price was. She used the language barrier as a vehicle in her bartering by only saying numbers (which often she would gesture instead) and saying nothing else. "How much?" "4 dollars" "2 dollars" (a statement, not a question, I should point out). "No, 4 dollars." "2 dollars?" "4 dollars." "2 dollars!" "I'll go 3 dollars, but that's it" (much hand gesturing at this point) "2 dollars" "NO." Finally she would laugh and walk away. This may have been amusing to me too... if only she hadn't come back 3 times over 6 hours on Saturday to repeat this same performance. I let my friend handle her after a while because I wasn't amused.

All in all I can't complain too much. I got to spend lots of time with one of my bestest friends and the weather was beautiful. And for all the annoying customers I had, I got a few very nice ones as well. I struck up a long conversation with a Chinese woman when she bought a book I had for sale.... "Teach Yourself How To Read Hebrew". I was of course curious as to why she would want the book, and so we talked for a long time about how she is Christian and would like to be able to read some Hebrew scriptures. We also talked about her daughters interest in languages and so on.... she was really quite wonderful to talk to, and she too came back later in the day. I was really happy she stopped by and had a great time talking with her.

Sunday night I got home from the garage sale, showered and changed, and had dinner with my family. It was a birthday dinner for both my brother and my mother's birthday. The highlight of the evening was watching my father's reaction to accidentally eating a chili pepper in his meal. He tried to be cool about it but his face went red, eyes popped out and his spit all over his plate. My mother looked mortified, my brother and I amused and my brother's girlfriend concerned. The waiters tried to hide their amusement and finally came over with more water when they saw him stuffing his cloth napkin into his mouth. Ah yes..... good times.

As for today.... well, it's a new day. And my week has started off right! (with the exception of the cold I woke up with) I just got a delivery in the mail from MBGD (My Big Gay Daddy) down in the States who shipped up my brand new camera to me. I have to turn in the camera I use now since it's a company camera, and get a new one for my adventures in Israel. So with MBGD's help I got myself a kick ass camera at an affordable price. There's no way I could have afforded this without you, sweetie... thanks for your continued love and support! And now everyone will benefit, as I will take all kinds of amazing pics while traveling all over Israel!

Now... if only I could get an answer about my financial aid application.... then I could finally start making solid plans for my trip. Like booking an airline ticket and buying luggage!!

Friday, July 01, 2005
It's days like this that remind me how good I have it here in Canada. I love my country, I really do. It's a deep and long standing love affair it is. What can I say? This is the country that produced such big names as Dan Akroyd, Avril Lavigne, Jim Carrey, Kiefer Sutherland, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, and of course, Wayne Gretzky. For a list of famous Canadian musicians go here. For a list of famous actors go here. For other famous Canadians (like astronauts, authors, artists and more) go here. For more about Canada in general go here. Ya never know what you might learn! Check out my post from last year to see what I love most.

Since it is a holiday I have the day off today. Last night the long weekend was kicked off just right; I was extremely tired heading down to the focus group I had agreed to go to ($100 for 2 hours work can make you agreeable to do the most boring of tasks). After driving (read: sitting) in traffic for an hour and a half and then taking 2 subways for another 45 mins I was nodding off as I sat in a waiting room with all the other participants. Finally a girl came out with a clipboard and called the names of all but three of us and lead them off to another room. The rest of us sat and speculated why we got left behind when the girl came back and said they had overbooked us and that we would still be paid the $100 but that we were free to go. Woohoo!! The fastest $100 I ever did make!! I have to admit... I did a little dance out in the hall when I left the office..... ok, and again in the elevator.

I decided to walk around downtown Toronto a bit, did some shopping at the Gap, grabbed a iced-minty-choco-cappa-something from Starbucks and then headed home. I was happy that my huge bad mood from driving in traffic had melted away to pure happiness.

So now I am heading out the door to meet my friend Melra to put up posters advertising our garage sale tomorrow and Sunday. Here's hoping for some more cash for my trip!!!

Now... to put my Canada flag on my car, all loud and proud!