Happy New Year! May 2012 be all you want it to be. We saw in the new year with the usual New Year's Eve bash. It was a little smaller than usual, but no less fun. If we didn't do this party then all of us would just sit around or sleep through the New Year. We had a great time, Brian's music was hopping and there was the necessary too much food and drink (we have a huge amount of soup left over, hopefully the squints will enjoy it and there is still Jem's beer left in the keg (where are you Stevie)). I will post some photos when I get back home to the camera. Now all that is left is the clean up.
Last Night I plugged my iphone in to charge from my windows laptop. it asked me if I wanted to look at the pictures I had on the phone. Now I don't remember ever having looked at the pictures, even though from time to very remote time I snap something with my phone when I have no camera (which usually lives in my bag). It's quite an interesting set of pictures from July 2010 onward. Here are a few (none of them are particularly good:
This is the view from the lobby of our accountant's office in Tel Aviv. I can't remember exactly why we were there, but it usually meant bad news.
Sometime in Aug 2010, bdo and I traveled up north to go visit some fool of a "not-boyfriend" of hers that was stuck at some army base for his birthday. The good news was this humus. Oh and the fact that he is very muchan "ex not-boyfriend".
Every time I go to the airport I am always amazed at the amount of balloons (note these are mainly the expensive mylar kind). Surely people realize that the best thing about a balloon for a young kid are the few seconds of bliss and wonder watching it fly away, before the realization that it's now gone forever and the screaming starts.
My girl and the GraphTech monster that now works for a large chip company.
A few (really, these are just a few) of bwo's ebay iPhone accessory purchases. She assured me none cost more than 99c.
Holland. The girl loved her rented bicycle. This little hut was in the woods near our chalet. We found a Swastika graffitied inside the door.
Terrible picture, wonderful concert. Arcade Fire at the Greek Theater Berkeley - thanks blackedwino.
Todd and Suzanne's spectacular house in Pennsylvania. It's perfect in every way.
Nephew blackedwino reminded me of last year's Christmas where we were all in Houston and we listened to David Sedaris' telling of a Dutch Christmas Story. Well, like all good things it is now available on YouTube. You really should listen to this (Oh, and read all his books).
This time of the year always gets me down. For some reason I always miss the US and my family. I miss the feeling of Christmas, even though I don't celebrate it. I miss the lights on the houses, the kitschy Christmas decorations, even the horrible Christmas muzak that plays everywhere. I miss the Christmas specials on TV (that I never watch anyway, although I do like "It's a Wonderful Life").
It is also around this time that my dad passed away and I miss my family. Tonight is the fifth candle of Hanukah, it's his yotsiet. That may have something to do with this pensive mood. At least it's raining, that always makes me feel better.
Yesterday was the first night of Hanukah. It was also the day our new bosses sent us out for lunch at a "nice restaurant" to celebrate the year end. So the squints went to Segev, one of the nicest restaurants in the country. We had an excellent lunch. Even my squints, bless them, had a hard time finding about what to complain. They make this spicy sprout salad that is really one of the best things I have eaten in my life. There was delicious freshly baked bread, and even dessert. I ended up stuffed to the gills.
Then it was off to the in-laws for the first candle. I managed to polish off a (large) number of latkes, my m-i-law's superior vegetable soup, as well as bwo's excellent sufganiot (doughnuts).
It is now 24 hours later and I still feel full. I seem to be eating my own body weight each day. This must stop!
We resisted. We said it would never happen. Objected and were determined. Not. Never. But.... eventually we folded and yes this year we will once again have a New Year's Eve Party. True it will be a party-lite, partylet or dwarf-party (meaning no external DJ), but a party non the less. How did it happen you may well ask. It was not due to public pressure, well not only. I figured that seeing as we had a party last year when things were looking bleak indeed, it seemed fitting to celebrate this year. And it's going to be 2012 nearly a great palindrome of a year (only one hundred years to go). Besides, one has to fight off the inertia that comes with age. So guys, lets go for it!
I have to honestly say that I have never been less proud of what goes on in this country than what is currently happening with the settlers. It's not enough that we have to put up with these "Price Tag" burning of mosques and cutting down of olive groves, but now the fanatics are attacking the army. And, it seems, getting away with it. It is despicable. The soldiers, who are in the West bank to protect these settlers, should be honored, not called "Nazi's" and spat on. This is ridiculous behavior and certainly not based on any religion I grew up with. On the one hand, there is much good in the country. There has been so much progress and hard work. On the other there are the fanatics that will not stop until all the reasonable people pack up and leave.
In the last few days I have been thinking more and more seriously that I want no part of this. Maybe it really is time to move on.
I was sick yesterday. I don't know what happened, but I never slept the night before, I tossed and turned aching all over. You know the feeling, when your bones are sore and even the touch of the blanket is too much. I did not have a fever, I just felt crappy. So I stayed home from work and slept in. I then lazed around the house and listened to all those strange weekday sounds that a working fool rarely hears. The sound of the lawn mowers and garbage men. The kids walking back from school in the early afternoon. The strange quiet that seems to covers the house when there is no one but me home (except for a sleeping son and daughter).
Then came Azziza. She vacuumed and sponged and did dishes loudly. She is still rather afraid of me and so very politely asked if I could move downstairs while she cleaned, all the while apologizing for having left the food she was going to bring at home. She is certainly not the most petite or gentle soul around the house - one can certainly tell when she is cleaning.
To take my mind off my illness, bwo gave me a huge pile of tangled wool to unravel. This is one of my favorite chores, and if I ever had a "blackpetero's holiday camp" (ala Tommy) I would give people huge rolls of tangled wool to unknot. I think there is something incredibly therapeutic in making order out of tangled, chaotic balls of wool. You start with an inconceivable mess of thread and slowly but surely you end up with neat piles of rolled up wool. Each a unique ball. I am really lucky that my wife is so good at generating this raw material for me. I immediately felt better.
I had a wonderfully restful weekend. No work, no archaeology, no stress. I actually read a book. I reread "The Player of Games" by Ian Banks. A wonderful SF book that I have not read in maybe 20 years. It was as good as I remember the first time. I have not sat down and read a non work or studies related book in such a long time that just laying around reading felt like a privilege. I read this on my Kindle and I have to say it was a pleasant experience.
This morning it is back to work. Not everyday is the weekend.
My poor in-law's car was stolen this morning. Blackfatherinlawo got up to take the grandchildren to school, went downstairs and lo and behold, no car! Strange that this particular car should be stolen. It is 19 years old. Perhaps they really wanted the lawn bowls association bumper sticker. Needless to say, we were all convinced that the car was gone, never to be seen again except in little pieces spread around the land.
So I was most surprised when blackwifeo called me to tell me they had found the car in Jaljulya. The only information we have so far is that the tires are missing. I am sure we will find out soon what else is gone. As little Orinet said "It's not good and it's not nice".
I am tired, tired, tired. Since I got back home from Spain and Poland I have not had time to relax and to "take a load off" as they say. I have found that I am starting to drift in and out mid sentence when people are talking to me and sometimes I have to burn a lot of brain rubber to remember what they said by the time they get to the end of a sentence. Hopefully this is just tiredness and not Alzheimer's. Tonight I am going to have an early night. I will have some dinner and a shower and be in bed by 9pm (that's the plan at least).
Ooops, my eyes just closed for a bit with my fingers on the keyboard and I ended up with about 100 l's. This is not good.
I finally got home. What a relief. The worst experience I had on the way home was on the plane from Gdansk to Frankfurt. It was one of those small commuter jets with two rows of sets or two. The plane was full. Sitting next to me was a funny little man in a suit and tie. I noticed that he had pushed into the boarding line much to the annoyance of the Germans all around. He looked a little off. He had those little "Mengele" round glasses and twitched a lot. He left his bag on my seat and seemed irate that I had dared to share his space. He muttered to himself a bit, then started to pick his nose. This went on for most of the 1 and 3/4 hour flight. At one point I got so disgusted that I got up, when to the (tiny) bathroom and brought him some tissues. He did not get the hint, refused the tissues with a shake of his greasy head and went on digging for diamonds in his nose. I am surprised his head did not cave in.
Then things got really bad. He took out his cellphone and started playing Angry Birds. With the sound on. I looked at him in disbelief, but he was totally oblivious and continued playing with the tinny sound of the game irritating me to where I nearly crushed the metal arm rest in my boiling rage. Eventually I looked at him and said "Turn Off The Sound!!!", he looked at me without comprehension so I pointed to my ear, his phone and ran a finger menacingly across my neck. He turned off the sound and went back to picking his nose. I noticed all the passengers around me relax.
When we got off the plane and onto the shuttle bus to the terminal (these little commuter planes don't park at a jetway), the people sitting around me motioned me over to their side of the bus they thanked me for stopping the sound of the game and we had a good laugh. They were all Germans on their way home after working in Gdansk. The assured me one and all "he definitely was not German". They shuddered at the whole nose-picking thing.
No I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I am currently in Gdansk, Poland. I left Barcelona yesterday after an incredibly intense bit of leadership training (10 days, solid work - well mostly). The training was excellent, we were given a real project to work and my team did a good job (the best team without a doubt). All in all it was a memorable but exhausting experience. I did not get to see much of Barcelona, but we went rappelling at Monserrat, and took a cable car ride over the city. I ate way too much food (lots of oily stuff) and am suffering from an extended lack of sleep.
When I arrived in Gdansk last night, it was 1 degree C and so very different from Barcelona. I met some work people and we walked through the cold to a nice place for dinner. I am staying in the old city and the area is very picturesque. But, early this morning it was another hotel breakfast before driving to the office. One more day and I am home, it has been too long.