Tuesday, August 09, 2005
climbing the mountain of debt
First of all let me just tell ya... I was *glued* to the tv this morning watching the shuttle landing. I actually teared right up and nearly cried (and even clapped!) when they landed. I was *terrified* for those on board, I really was. WHEW. I am so glad they made it home safe. And then when mission control welcomed them home?? Oh yes, that was worthy of a tear. Welcome home indeed.

Anyway, I won't bore you with details of my weekend except to say that I have been on a shopping rampage for my trip to Israel. This past weekend it was a trip to Mountain Equipment Co-Op for hiking boots, two flashlights (one for the hand, one for my head), a new backpack (I had shoulder surgery a number of years ago so I need a good pack that spreads the weight out), 2 pairs of socks for the hiking boots, and a 3 litre camel pack (made in Israel!!) for taking water on the hike. My face went ashen at the cash register as the price was totalled and I handed over my bank card. This trip is costing me a fortune before I even get on a plane! Speaking of which, I got my plane ticket last week.... $2010. *choke!* I don't want to really think about it, but I've probably already spent somewhere around $3000, none of which is really mine (credit cards and loans and overdraft, oh my!). I am sailing into debt with a smile on face and the hope that this will all work out in the end. *gulp* I must keep the faith, I must keep the faith, I must keep the faith......

I am, however, currently getting screwed over by someone on eBay to the tune of about $550. I bought a laptop on eBay because let's face it, I'm way to poor to get a new laptop, and this was the cheapest way I could do it. Yes, I knew I was taking my chances and now with exactly 3 weeks left until I leave it's crunch time and the computer is STILL not here (I won the auction July 15th). I was told it was shipped July 19th and would be here in 4 -7 business days. Um... so where is it? I have opened a dispute on eBay with the seller and have tried to press the matter as best I can because I don't have a whole lot of time to resolve this dispute and these things take time. The seller is saying I'm shit out of luck because he shipped it and it's out of his hands. I checked the tracking number and all that USPS is showing is that it was received on July 19th. It's not saying if it left the US, it's not saying if it arrived in Canada, and it sure as hell isn't showing a signature to prove it was received. I am telling the guy to either give me my money back so I can quickly pick up a new one or send me another laptop. I don't have time to frig around, I need it now. I need to time to get that laptop loaded and ready for my trip. Grrrr...... I don't have a good feeling about how this is going to go. Anyone else had a dispute on eBay? How did you resolve it? Any suggestions or ideas?

Anyway, I am back at work and wearing my hiking boots in an effort to break them in before I go. I am wearing them out shopping, around the house, at work...for however long I can stand them, I wear them. I don't want to go through the pain of breaking them in later.. I'd rather get the blisters over with now, ya know?

Speaking of eBay auctions and the Holy Land... check out this auction. Go ahead.... scroll down... and then tell me what Jesus has to do with a plug converter/adapter set, if you can.

Monday, August 08, 2005
we will resume regular programming soon
I am hopping in the car to drive 2 hours north to grandma's to give her the medication she left behind when she stayed with my parents. Then I will do a little fishing, and drive back. 4 hours of driving on 5 hours of sleep makes me wish my grandma had a better memory.

I'll write a real post when I get back tonight.

UPDATE: Okay, I know I said I would write a real post when I got home, but I am way too tired. It'll have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry. I need to go to bed, and I pray that when I wake up in the morning and check the news I will hear that the spaceshuttle Discovery has safely landed, because I have a bad feeling about it. *fingers crossed* Good luck to the crew.

Friday, August 05, 2005
The Announcement!
Ladies and gentlemen, it's official....... I am going to Israel!!

I have been holding back the announcement while I ironed out details of financing, but I think it's safe to say at this point that I will be leaving in just over 3 weeks. I have had to take out a bank loan (line of credit) in order to finance this, which is no easy feat when you have quit your job! I have to make monthly payments on that loan while I am gone if I am to have any sort of decent credit history when I return, and that is where all of you have come to my rescue. The funds raised from my bracelet sales will be absolutely critical to making this plan work. I have isolated that money and it will be used very carefully to ensure that I do not default on my loan payments. Without all of you, this trip would not be possible.

Now I am losing sleep (I have been up since 5:30 this morning, unable to sleep) as I keep thinking about all the things I need to do before I go. Set up payments on my loan, on bills that need to be paid while I am away (credit card, car payments, etc) and on money I owe to the government. I need to buy supplies, clothes, hiking boots, etc. I need to pack up my apartment and get it ready for a friend of mine who will be subletting it from me. I need to cancel my phone and internet services and teach my friend how to take care of my giant fishtank. I need to make sure paperwork is in order for everything from insurance to Livnot forms.

*sigh* So much to do and the stress level is rising rapidly. I want to thank every single one of you for your truly amazing support and encouragement. If you had told me last year that I would be walking away from my job and life here to go to Israel for 5 months I never would have believed you. Yet here I am chasing a dream thanks to you. I am humbled and honoured. Thank you, everyone.
Shabat Shalom.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005
thar she blows!
So I nearly cried today at the sushi place when they got my order wrong. I'm quite sure it wasn't the wrong order that brought me to the edge of a meltdown so much as a culmination of things, with the wrong order acting as the cherry on top.

Prior to the sushi moment I had a lousy workout because I was in a foul mood because just prior to that I had been arguing with the post office over the cost of shipping to Israel. And before that it was a day spent stressing at work including more than an hour on the phone with tech support (only to have my problem NOT solved after all that trouble), talking to travel agents about pricing, talking to banks about money, talking to friends and fellow bloggers about money, talking to my doctor about the trip, my health and how I can get some sleep because I can't anymore because I sit up all night stressing about.... yes, money.

Anyway, I didn't come on here to whine or beg for more money. Just explaining why I am feeling quiet today. Perhaps my mood will be different tomorrow.... I am a woman, afterall.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005
The day AirFrance came to town
What a crazy day here in Toronto! As I am sure you have all heard by now, there was a plane crash at Toronto's main airport. An AirFrance flight, coming in during a spectacular storm, overshot the runway and slid off and into a ditch and ignited into flames (footage can be seen here). The news here is going crazy for the story and you can't escape it. Here's how the days events went for me.....

1:30pm - I went with another manager to a local store to set up a new display we are testing in a few stores. The weather had been sunny most of the morning with the occasional bit of rain here and there. It was HOT.... this summer has been one of the hottest on record for Toronto, and today was no exception.

2pm - While working in the store the other manager and myself heard the sudden and very LOUD downpour of rain. The sound of it pounding on the roof of this "big box" store was eerily loud. I went to the front to look outside and was *stunned* to see it looked nearly WHITE there was so much rain coming down. It looked foggy or almost even snowy it was so heavy, and I could not see my car across the parking lot. The store staff and myself stood and watched the rain for a while in utter amazement as we had never seen anything like (I even took pictures!). The sound of the rain slapping the pavement was deafening. We remarked at how it must feel to be in India where this happens often. At one point the lights had flickered in the store and the power had threatened to go out.

2:30pm - The rain had stopped for the most part and the sun came out. It seemed that the storm had gone.

3pm - I got a call from another manager back at the office taunting me that hail was hammering down on my beloved car back at the office (I had driven the company van to the store, as it was full of product for the display). It's worth noting at this point that my office is RIGHT beside the airport. In fact, this morning as I drove to work I was watching one plane come in for a landing as it floated remarkably low over the road I was driving on. In the past I have actually had to yell loudly when talking to someone while standing in the office parking lot as a plane passed low overhead (our building is right under a flight path).
But I digress! I had said to the other manager that there was no hail yet where we were, 10 mins west of the office.

3:30pm - The weather is back and more fierce than ever. Once again I gather with the staff at the front of the store to watch the weather and we are dumbstruck that it had gone from sunny to storm, and then sunny to storm yet again. We were sure the weather had passed but now we stood as hail pelted down and lightning flashed everywhere. I started to wonder just when I would ever get home (I live 40 mins away and there's no way i was going to drive in that weather).

4:30pm - working in the store all day I am unaware that there has been a plane crash 15 mins away. It figures this would be the one day I am not in front of my computer all day reading news like usual. I get a call on my cell from the office manager... she is sounding upset and is saying something about flooding and hangs up without finishing the conversation. Looking baffled I turn to the other manager I'm working with and relay that I just had a bizarre conversation with the office manager and that it sounded like something bad was happening back at the office/warehouse. 2 seconds later HIS cellphone rings and it's the office manager again. The rain is flooding the area and water is backing up into our warehouse and causing flood damage. My co-worker drops everything and rushes back to the warehouse in the storm. I remain behind to try and finish the display as the store is a complete mess at the moment thanks to us.

4:50pm - I get a call from the office manager telling me I need to get back to the warehouse, they need my help. I drop everything, apologize to the store for leaving the place in a mess and promise to come back within an hour to finish the job. I am still unaware of the airplane crash.

5:03pm - As I begin to drive back to the office I turn on the radio and hear crazed traffic reports telling people to stay away from the area around the airport including a highway that runs just south of it. I yank my car suddenly to the left... I was just about to exit onto that highway. Finally I get the full story about the crash, though details then were sketchy. I grumble that I am being told by the media to stay away from the area when that's exactly the place I need to go to. Anxious for details I begin to worry about the people on the plane.

5:30pm - I am stuck in horrendous traffic as I, and apparently everybody under the sun, am attempting to find an alternate route. As I sit in traffic numerous fire engines, ambulances and police cars race by me, sirens blaring. The rain is intermittently showering the traffic.

Alright, I'll stop the drama here. In the end I went back to the office, helped pour bags and bags of sand in an effort to stop the water from flooding in, and took pictures of the damages for our insurance claims. When that was done the other manager and I drove *back* to the store to finish the job we had started. When we walked out of the store at 8pm the sun was shining and the pavement was DRY..... as if the storm had never even happened. It was downright bizarre.... and HOT. Ugh, the humidity from the heat+rain was *stifling*.

Eventually I got home and finally got a chance to turn on the news and see the footage. Prior to that I only had the radio and smell of burning jet fuel to tell me what had happened. The wreckage looks awful though I am extremely proud that the airport handled the near disaster so well. I am astonished and thrilled that not one single person died... as close to a miracle as I have ever heard. They say the plane may have been hit by lightning... which will make the airport *very* jumpy over the next 2 days; the weather is to be more of the same until Friday.

In a moment of sarcasm (hey, I was tired, soaking wet and working a very long day) I turned to my co-worker and said: "Gosh golly! Toronto will be all over the news tonight, and for something other than gay marriage! Wowsers, I bet even CNN will be talking about it!!" (CNN is notorious for pretending that Canada doesn't much exist)

What. A. Day.

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?