White blanket: We wake up this morning to see the hills around us dusted in snow. Karmiel is clear, but Kfar Vradim, just about 15 minutes away, is just high enough to get below freezing.
These pictures were taken by Daniel Ber, one of Gill’s friends’ kids. Now, they are certainly lovely, but keep in mind that we live in stone houses and don’t have central heat. Brrrr!
Storm watch: Yesterday’s fierce winds and heavy rain caused flooding, power outages, and downed trees, and in higher elevation areas (Jerusalem, the Golan, etc.), the rain became snow. It isn’t anywhere near freezing in Karmiel (right now around 8 C), but there is thunder, lightening, and rain. Hail yesterday. Check out the live webcam of the snow storm in Jerusalem.
Waiting for Winograd: The formal Winograd report (the committee that investigated the government and army’s responsiveness in the Second Lebanon War) is due. Anticipation for it leads to some rather biting political satire, including Eretz Nehederet’s spoof of the game show 1 Against 100; their version: 1 Against 119 (referring to the number of Israeli soldiers who died in the war), in which Olmert, Peretz, and Halutz (former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, who was in charge of the reserve army at the time of the war) have to answer loaded questions. (The video clip takes a long time to load, so be patient.) Very funny. The level of debate, open discussion, freedom of speech, and public involvement in such issues here is a sign of a healthy democracy and open society, though you sure wouldn’t know it if all you heard about Israel came from the international press. Case in point: the recent barrage of anti-Israel press about the Gaza blockade.
Feel the love: Tennis, that is. In case you missed it, an Israeli duo takes the Australian Open. First time!
Show the love: The original Fluff Bomb, Freddie (Nadine’s number 1 long-distance squeeze), gives us a glam Playgirl pose.
Jetlag, baby: Oi! It really gets me this time. I arrive Thursday night, teach Friday, and then spend two days feeling like a drugged, hibernating sloth. I fall asleep during the day (yesterday three times while sitting at the computer!) and then can’t sleep at night. I find myself staring at the same paragraph of a document, not making the slightest headway. At least Nadine enjoys my slug-like state; she cuddles up to me and shluffs happily.
Gettin’ flashy with Flash: This Dutch department store site (HEMA) has been making the rounds. (Let it load and watch the what the site does automatically. Best with sound.) Hat tip to the six different people who sent this to me.
What does your cat eat? OK, here is a challenge: What’s the strangest thing that your cat loves to eat? Nadine is insanely crazy about dried apricots. I once heard of someone whose cat was addicted to the elastic in bras and underwear. What is your cat’s dietary fetish?
Cold snap: A cold winter rain begins today, and the weather guys are predicting a real cold snap. This winter, the cold brings a special bushah (shame) as at least one person has already died of exposure.
My mom went to Seattle… and all I got was a crummy T-shirt. Miss Thing looks stylin’ in her Seattle duds.
It might not be as fancy as the little dog and cat sweaters and soccer outfits from Bark, a chi-chi little pet store and pet bakery in Seattle. And no, that is not a place where they bake pets…
The last leg: The trip home is not without a few snags. Check-in at SeaTac is a breeze; it takes a mere breathless seven minutes from the time I step through the doors to the time I check my bags and walk away with both boarding passes. I am in shock. Another fifteen minutes and I am through security. Stunned, I know that my luck can’t last. And sure enough, the smooth trip comes to a screeching halt in Atlanta, where I get stuck for about six hours. Apparently, a window has fallen out of the plane and they need to replace it and then pressurize the cabin to make sure that the seal holds. “Y’all don’t want it poppin’ out at 30,000 feet,” is the laconic comment from one of the Delta crew members at the desk. Ah, yeah. We’ll wait, ta ever so much.
I wander about, trying to stay awake, when suddenly I hear someone calling me name. It is a group of engineers from one of my client companies, on their way back from a trade show in Atlanta. “I just sent you email!” I tell one of the guys. “I know,” he says, “I just saw it!”
Happily, the flight itself is uneventful. With a strong tail wind, it takes only 11 hours (compare to the 13.5 hours on the west-bound flight). My bags pop out in the first few minutes on the baggage carousel, and we are on our way home in minutes. I even manage to sleep a few hours before getting up again and heading back down to Tel Aviv for my Friday class. Still, it’s good to be home.
Temperate climate, you say? That’s what they call Seattle, but it has been well below freezing every night for the past few days. The frozen puddles never quite thaw during the day, even though the temp gets all the way up to about 5 C. Step into a shop, strip off hat, scarf, gloves, jacket. Remove sunglasses. Find tissues to cope with the nose that starts instantly dripping with the temperate change. Ready to go? Put on scarf, jacket, and hat. Look for gloves. Take out sunglasses. Put them down to continue looking for gloves. Find a waste basket for the (now soggy) tissue. Find gloves (hiding in a different pocket). Look for sunglasses. And so it goes… I don’t know how people cope.
I see dogs out, trotting happily along despite the chill. An adorable little pug is prancing along on its leash, and it amiably accepts some pats from me. Further along, a Jack Russel (named Jack, naturally), comes out of one shop and trots into the next one. I go into a pet supply shop to find a sweater for Nadine, but am not willing to spend $30.00 (no kidding).
Today I wrap up my visit and get ready for departure tomorrow. I’ll be happy to be home, just in time for another predicted storm front to move in. Should be fun coping with the Tel Aviv commute…
I can’t feel my tush: The temperature in Bellingham warms up to a few degrees above freezing. An icy arctic wind sweeps through the city. My feet go numb, my fingers turn stiff and clumsy, and then I lose sensation in my butt. How the hell does anyone live in this frozen wasteland?
Well, one of those crazy people is my oldest sister, Denise, who is pretty darn tough. Anything short of a hurricane or blizzard and she’ll be out there, walking or doing something outside. Brrrr!
I’m ready for some Karmiel sunshine!
Shades of gray: Yes, another dark, dank, cold day in Seattle. There are little patches of snow that refuse to melt, despite daytime temps above freezing. The only thing that keeps me warm is seeing family, long-time friends, and eating some fantastic Asian food (Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Pacific Rim Fusion, etc.). Here I am with Sandy, after stuffing ourselves with udon: