Thursday, December 28, 2006

English girls can drink?

You people clearly haven't downed a shot with Ms Freeman...

Hmmmmm What was that comment about my eighth drink?!?!?!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Roar Like a Lion

This weekend I took a break from the city of sin and decided to ascend to the heavenly mountains of Ramat Bet Shemesh, where my more holy older sister lives with her brewed of perfect children and doting husband (Yo Vic!) for Shabbat.

I find the problem with living in Tel Aviv is that you become used to the hustle and bustle of the dirty depraved city and to leave seems like madness when you think of all the bars and restaurants and life in general that is swarming around your doorstep. By comparison, the idea of going to a quiet settlement up in the hills only surrounded by the Ultra-Orthodox can seem like heaven and hell all at once. On the one hand, I get to spend a weekend surrounded by the Ultra-Orthodox with no-where to escape in my sleeveless top and jeans without the risk of being stoned (and not in a good way). However, on the other hand, I also get to spend a weekend in the bosom of my family, eat good food, get some peace and quiet (from the city that is) and be entertained all weekend by 5 of the cutest and most beautiful children you will ever meet, my nieces and nephews… and no I am not just being biased… they really are THAT perfect.

Now the weekend might have been a little lacking on the peace and quiet I had hoped for, somehow I always underestimate the noise of 5 children, however it was so great to play with the kids, especially playing Connect 4 with Shalom, laughing as he tried to cheat a couple of times. Being around kids reminds you of how much fun your childhood was. I remember play fighting with my brother and sisters. I remember how rough we would sometimes get, like kittens jumping over each other, so that mum and dad would not realise we were just playing but think that World War III had entered the Graham household. Oh and yes I remember when World War III did actually enter our household from time to time… Oh yes, my older sister and I especially would be the cause of that! Trashing each others rooms, screaming matches in public… for some reason we just loved to piss each other off! In some ways I kind miss it… I mean now that we are all grown up and I can’t just wrestle her to the ground when she annoys me (I always used my extra 6 inches and weight to my advantage), or play fight because we are grown up now and what kind of example would that set for the children!

And then today my brother-in-law sent me this beautiful link and with his permission I am sharing it with you all… Because when you are the little one and your big sister is in your face, my advice has always been stand your ground and roar like a lion!! Noam you are a star!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dance for Israel

Back in October I gave you the dancing Matt... Now I give you the dancing Oleh!!

The naked version will be coming soon....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Seasons Greetings... Happy Chrismakah!!!!

'Tis the season that we all celebrate the dudes, known as the Maccabis, kicking some serious ass and eating sugary doughnuts in celebration. And while are Christian friends have a fat guy with a white beard to look forward to, and one day of presents, I remember the 8 days of increasingly more exciting presents I would get from my folks as a kid (well ok... the first 7 days were chocolate coins).

So as I am starting to get into the festive spirit and as Capital FM has already started playing Christmas songs I did not want my fellow Maccabis to feel unloved... In case you have been on another planet for the last 5or so years, here is Adam Sandler...I give you all three versions of the Chanukah song!!!




And don’t forget after you have smoked your marijuanika to have a happy happy happy happy Chanukah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What is in a Name?

When I was a Jew living in a foreign country, living with a Jewish name I ran into the following problems:

a) People mispronouncing my name. This can range from pronouncing a CH as in ‘chain’ and ‘change’ instead of making the guttural sound of Ch as in ‘Chanukah’
b) People calling me a different, easier to pronounce, name all together. I have been called every name from Anna to Sharna in my time.
c) Some people find the C before the name Hannah so confusing that they instead choose to call me by my more English last name Graham, and this is not even a pet name. They honestly thought that I was boy called Graham CHannnah!
d) My passport and birth certificate having a different name to the one on my ticket. I would never have thought this would be an issue when flying ELAL, but because my British passport holds the name Hannah and my ticket was ordered by my loving parents in the name of Channah it proved far too confusing for the security at the ELAL check in.

When I arrived in Israel I felt the sweet bliss of not having to repeat my name several times over, or to sigh when people would ditch the C and H all together and call me Anna. In Israel I was Channah. I was me. I was the name of my grandmother, the name my parents gave me, and I felt so relieved. However it was short-lived.

Channah in England is a pretty bog standard name for a Jewish girl, and Hannah is continuously one of the top three most popular names in England each year, however in Israel the name I inherited from my Grandmother is just that… a name of a Grandma. This is a problem a few of my friends who came with pretty traditional Hebrew names in England to Israel… their names were just not cool enough. Shop keepers welcoming the new Olah to Israel would make suggestions regarding a change of name, “Your name is just not cool. You should go with Chani instead… much more hip!”

Er… Chani? Chani in England is the name of the Rabbi’s daughter. For years I had refused to allow the Jews of England call me Chani… well I do make an exception for a Mr Javor and every now and then for a Ms Freeman (if she is very very good). There was no way I was changing my name to Chani! And then there was the option of Ilana, my middle name, which I can only stand if it is pronounced with a Yorkshire or Israeli accent. However, everywhere I turned I saw Ilanas or Elanas. Plus in my first few weeks in Israel I found myself living next door to an Ilana Channah, so making the same change to my name would be way to confusing.

So for the last two years I have lived with the fact that although my name may not be cool in Israel, I am too cool for Israel… well that is what I tell myself anyway. Then Thursday night there was a new revelation.

Yummyguy: So you still haven’t told me your name
ME: I thought I did… you never told me yours.
Yummyguy: You never asked… it’s @#*&%
Me: I’m Channah
Yummyguy: Channah? You don’t look like a Channah
ME: Yeah I know… Channah is a grannies name blah blah blah
Yummyguy: No… I would say Channah is more of a naïve girls name… you are certainly not naïve!
ME: Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. Thank you?

I wasn’t sure whether to take it as a compliment or more of a reference to the indecent flirting that had been going on all night, but I was slightly shocked. Although I have never considered myself nor have been referred to as a naïve girl, I did not like to be told that I was ‘certainly not’ one! What are you trying to say dude?

After telling my new boss about this she suggested looking it up in a names book. I was a little dubious as I once looked my name up in the Hebrew dictionary and found it said that my name meant “a camp site for soldiers.” I was not pleased, but I thought I would go along with her suggestion and I found the following:

From the Hebrew name חַנָּה (Channah) which meant "favour" or "grace". Hannah was the mother of Samuel the prophet in the Old Testament. The Latin version of this name is Anna.

Channah – Goddess of Life – Hebrew

CHANNAH - Variant of the Hebrew name Chana meaning “gracious, merciful”.

The girl's name Hannah is pronounced HAN-ah. It is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is "favored grace." Biblical: mother of the prophet Samuel. Being barren, she asked God to bless her with a child, and her prayer was answered. Hence, the name literally means "God has graced me with a son."

But seriously what is really in a name? In olden days I would have been called “Troublesome second daughter of Stephen the man among daughters.” In my mind among my friends I am the UN truck, the one that they can always rely on when they need a hand, an ear or a shoulder. I am the one that cannot stop crying 1 day in every 2 months. I am the one with selective hearing that they are secretly jealous of. I am the one who doesn’t really give a shit, but then does when it comes to her true friends. I am the one that will not let people get too close even though they may think they totally know me. Ultimately I am someone who tries to carry myself with grace and wit. Who strives for humility and love. Who sees the romance in all things and would only love the world just to kiss and make-up. So I guess I have found peace with my complicated name, because it has beautiful meaning.

Beyond the literal, ultimately I was named after my Grandma Annie. I wish I had a picture to show you of Grandma Annie, but you will have to make do with my description of her as a person instead. Although I never met my grandmother, I was born a year after she died, I have always been told what a remarkable woman she was. People describe her as the most welcoming woman with a warm heart, vivacious personality and contagious giggle. An amazing woman with a wonderful soul. I remember seeing a picture of her just before she died with my sister and wishing that I could have met the woman that everyone said I would grow up to be like, the woman that everyone referred to as a woman beautiful both inside and out. What a legacy to leave behind… What a shadow to walk behind. But with her name I do hope that I can leave something similar for my granddaughter/s to look up to. And with a little grace and hoping that HE may look favourably upon me I carry on my walk through life. Just call me the Goddess of Life from now on.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dude I am fine!!

I never thought that the last blog would cause such controversy. To be honest I never thought that people really cared that much, but from the time I posted my last blog, I have received the same, “Is everything ok with you?” question and pitying look from near and far. I was a little taken a back to be honest. Sometimes I forget that people are reading. No that sounds dumb. Of course I know people are reading… I have a site meter. What I mean is that although when I write a blog I am very conscious about who the blog relates to and whether they will be reading and I always think about what my family will think should they be reading, I never really think about everyone else… the public, and how they may see me.

Random: Hey… so how are things with you? You seemed blue last week.

Me: No not really. I just had to rant about something. I hadn’t written in ages, I have been overworked and on my period for like forever! I am fine (big cheesy grin)

Random: Err… ok

Hmmmm… Perhaps a little too much information.

Yag: Hey doll, is everything ok? What Sagas? Anything I should know about?

Me: Dude I am fine!

Yag: You missing Nooman?

Me: Dude I am fine!

Nooman (my roommate) has gone to England for a week and pretty much straight after that will be going into the army. So for the next 6 months it looks like I will be living alone. Something I am looking a lot more forward to now that the rapist (Benny Boy – Not Nooman) has been caught. Also we have a new neighbour. A cute old homeless man stands outside my apartment day and night, guarding his wheelie dustbin (trash can) that he has claimed as his home. He asks for money in English. I don’t know what it is about him, but I am always grateful to see him standing there protecting my entrance way when I come home late from a night out a little worse for wear. I want to speak to him, to find out his story, but something stops me from approaching him… perhaps my English reserve, perhaps my own shyness that I cover over with my own self confidence. Either way I am glad he is there… and I lovingly have started to refer to him as Albert…. There is something about the long white hair…

This weekend I spent a night in Jerusalem, joining Lexus Maximus’ festivities for her birthday and then letting friends I have not seen for a while drag me to different parties around the area. In the back streets around Yaffo, all nations spent their evening partying in the spirit of their countries. The Brazilian boys were dancing wildly, drinking heavily and, luring women into their little shack… After we made the great escape we were promised a good time from the Americans… yeah nothing new there.

I walked into a Hebrew Uni frat party and immediately felt at home. The Greek style Karma Sutra playing cards were a fun icebreaker and soon I found myself in the kitchen talking to the tallest guys I have ever met. Mike (6”5) and Brian (6”10)… I kid you not! I stood and talked to them about nothing more than how intimidated I was standing next to them and where the mixers where for the vodka. After I realised that I was going have to drink citron vodka straight, I went to find the girls I had come in with and found them in the corridor with the only Israeli’s in the party. Oh how I love some harmless flirting and a charade!

The next day I enjoyed taking part in the Jerusalem tradition of Tal Bagels for breakfast. However, for me Tal bagels is never as simple as going for a brunch at a café in Tel Aviv. In Tel Aviv, brunch is a quiet, civilised experience with a few friends preferably at The Brassiere. In Jerusalem brunch with your friends means turning up at Tal Bagels and standing around the table your friend has reserved while a million of the people they know from Katamon/ the shul/ the supermarket/ the old country, turn up and sit in your seats! However, as I categorically told my friend that should that happen I would go and eat on my own at Burger Ranch instead, this week was far more civilised. That is until I got passed the salt.

Half way through my brunch and I decided to add a little salt to the egg… big mistake! The cap had not been put back on properly and there I was with a snowfall of salt all over my plate, lap and in my handbag. It was actually pretty hilarious although I am gutted that Sabra did not have her camera to hand as it would have made a good shot for this blog, plus I got a new breakfast so it was all good. The only thing that bothered me somewhat was its meaning… There is always meaning in everything.

They say that salt over the left shoulder is good luck, so what does it mean when it lands in your lap?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Saga after saga

I know I haven’t written in a long time. To be honest there has been no time in the day, and until I have full access to a computer at home, I am having to rely on the few minutes I have to spare every few weeks to update you on my life… and that is just the parts of my life that I can print!

Not to imply that there is a lot of excitement going on. To be frank there is not enough of the excitement I want, and a little too much of the sagas I like to avoid. But as you all know, although I am always willing to write about my excitements, I am not about to start writing about the sagas… I mean I can barely believe I live them never mind having to repeat the stupidity to the world!

Seriously, what are sagas all about? No-one ever knows what they are about. They come out of the blue with a cat fight caused by a spat, caused by a misunderstanding which generally has something to do with (in the case of women) hormones and or lack of sex or (in the case of men) to do with lack of sex and or being sick. Either way, they are bullshit and I tend to try to avoid them. The only problem is that no matter how much you try to avoid them, when you are in the middle of one, there is no way out. No matter what you say, you make matters worse. Which would imply that perhaps it is better to shut the fuck up, a piece of advice I try to pass on to all my friends, however when you are in the middle of it you just cannot shut the fuck up… you just want to sort it the fuck out.

When I see sagas happening around me I hide out in the company of more chilled out, less hormonally challenged friends. When it is me that is hormonally challenged there is nowhere to hide. I take a walk, I take myself away from others, but I cannot take myself away from myself. So I cry… Why? Because I am totally frustrated with myself, and as I have never been suicidal, and as I consider myself a pretty sane person, it is highly frustrating when you take a step out of your own body and see yourself as a psycho bitch from hell.

So how do I get out of it? Sit it out and just wait for it to pass? Ignore the saga going on around me and try to go back to concentrating on work? Whinge to a friend who will make me laugh at myself because seriously… I am not a psycho… although once every two months I do talk like a coke head. The world is endless of possibilities and options for a girl like me who is sometimes a little too self aware. Do I take up every offer? No… I am a lady after all! Ok I am trying to be :)

"When people are laughing, they're generally not killing each other." ~Alan Alda

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lost for words...

For months the town of Sderot, situated in the South of Israel, has been bombarded by hundered of Kassam rockets from Gazza. You may not know about this, because, as I discovered when I googled Sderot, only certain newspapers have actually been printing the news:

Sderot: 20 seconds to take cover - November 22, 2006 15:16

Hamas: Jews must evacuate - November 22, 2006 14:01

Sderot: Qassam lands near school - November 22, 2006 09:14

Sderot rocket victim dies of his wounds - November 21, 2006 00:08

Three Israelis injured in Sderot - November 19, 2006 13:30

And what has the international press had to say about this?

BBC - November 22, 2006 10:38

The Guardian - November 22, 2006 14:15

I am neither shocked nor suprised nor even offended that the international press has forgotten about Sderot. I think the people of Sderot feel like even Israel herself has forgotten about Sderot. "The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference." Sorry, just something I read today...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Somewhere over… where?

This morning there was rain… rain with blue skies and fresh green smells all the way to work. After a night of strange dreams fuelled by amber nectar and whispering fairies, I awoke wide eyed seconds before my alarm went off. I made my lunch, showered, brushed my teeth and dressed for another busy day at work. On the way down the coast towards Herzlia the rain showed reflections of cars on the road, while the taillights caused little red trails that I followed to my destination. Even the traffic lights shine brighter in the wet and illuminate the sky as I speed under the amber flashing.

In the office my computer is dull compared to the mass colour activity occurring outside my window. The clouds are coming in from the direction of the black sea, swallowing the blue skies in its path, and I know that soon all the colours will be gone and it will be another grey day of this season of rain. But then I see colour flash in front of my screen and I see in between my building and the office building ahead a rainbow. A thick bright rainbow that seemed to come out of nowhere, but was definitely leading somewhere. They say that at the end of a rainbow is a pot of gold. Well at the end of this rainbow was the non-kosher supermarket that sells pork. They also say that somewhere over the rainbow ‘skies are blue’, but on the other side of the rainbow there are only grey skies.

But I still hold out the hope that somewhere over the rainbow all the dreams that I dare to dream will one day come true.

Have a good day people!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Global Affair

In this violent and volatile world that we live in it is very difficult to see how you as just an average citizen can do anything to bring peace love and happiness about. It is something I thought about a lot during the recent Lebanon war. It is something that I know is on the minds of a lot of people around the world... well on the minds of those who aren't blowing themselves up in the name of Jihad. So what can we do?

Well I have come across (thanks to a Sabra) an ingenious website which seems to have the answer. It would appear that my thoughts connecting war and horniness during the Lebanon war were not totally off the track...In 37 days, 18 hours, 29 minutes and counting will be Global Orgasm Day!
That is on December 22nd, 2006 (put it in your diaries).

The purpose of this day; other than being good for your general health, complexion and a sure way to get a good workout, is to help change the energy field of the Earth via the largest possible surge of human energy... Well their reasoning is that it has been tried through communal prayer and meditation, but a communal Orgasm... that could have explosive effects! They have also suggested that it is mainly those who live in countries with weapons of mass destruction who have most need to hop on the bandwagon as it were.

People I leave you to make your own decisions on the topic, but what with all the death, destruction and disease in this world... perhaps we should do it for our 'country', the global community that is our world. And even if you don't believe in all this energy fields palaver, what kinda person are you who turns down a reason to have an extra orgasm. Guys and Girls this is a chance to set aside a day in your and your loved one's calenders, or if you are single to grab a guy or a girl, just for the best reason in the world... an orgasm to save the world!

Well I have tried to do my bit for our Global community... I know what I am going to be doing on

Friday December 22nd, 2006

... Is it an all day event?

For more info check out

Monday, November 13, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sick and Restless

There is nothing more certain in my life than when I need to be well, when one of my best friends are in the country for one day and one day alone, that is the day that I get sick. After weeks of eating well, exercising hard and generally looking after my boo, my body sees the forthcoming deadline of the J man's arrival and so decides to take a leave of absence... one two three everything begins to shut down and so here I am, on my fourth day off work, sick and restless.

I am craving something...

The doctor said I had a respiratory infection. Basically my cold has got to my lungs and now I am high on cough syrup, antibiotics and a ventilator to help me breath at night. No more wine, no more cigarettes, no more anything bad in my system... I can't even have a medicinal shot of whiskey in my lemon and honey. For the next ten days and perhaps onward I am T-total... again.

I am craving something very bad...

How many times can one person take antibiotics before you become immune to every sickness on the planet... if only it worked that way, but here I am not getting any younger and I am having to remind myself that no matter how young I might feel (I still feel 18 some days) my body is in the know and in the end it will catch up with me.

They say that once you hit 30 your skin stops rejuvenating itself. Hmmmmm just under 3 years to go.... perhaps I should get a head start now. I mean if the rest of my family stopped aging past 16 then maybe I should let Mother Nature take her course and stop fighting her with all the toxins of the world. I mean seriously, what am I fighting her on? Ok I give up I will stay young and beautiful forever... you win!

But I want it bad!

The easy part... Now I am just restless, so I am writing aimlessly... you want to know the point of this blog today? There is no point, other than the fact that I am restless. I have watched my fill of Grey's Anatomy, Sex and the City, Dr. Plastic and Amazing Race, and now I just want to release some energy! I would go to the gym, but the infection is still at a stage where if I go for a walk I am out of breath. So I guess instead of releasing energy I am abusing a borrowed laptop and releasing my emotions.... well they have been kept pent up for a while so I guess they deserve a little spin around the block.

Hmmm... But now I have given myself free reign to go crazy, I just don't want to. I guess I don't have as many emotions as I thought, or maybe I have just lost the energy to bother.

It was so good to see Josh when he was here. He was only around for one evening, but as always it was a pleasure. Josh is possibly the only one of my friends that every single one of my other friends love. To the extent that when I told people that he was in town for one night, everyone came over to see him... I felt very honored on his behalf. And despite being sick and refusing to kiss anyone hello as they stepped in the door, there was no way that evening was going to go by without me jumping on Josh and kissing him a million times. I miss the weekends we used to spend together slobbing out in front of the TV, listening to each others story of the week and saying "whatever" after every silly saga, playing Monopoly with friends... actually it would be more like Josh and his friends ganging up on me while we played Monopoly because I am such "an entertaining sore loser". I beg him to move to Israel, but when you have the coolest job in the world in England, you still come to Israel 2-3 times a year for a party, you have to remind yourself what you would be making aliyah for. Once upon a time I could have convinced him that the women in Israel were the finest in the world, but now not even that bribe is enough.

Have I sufficiently got every thought out of my head? Not quite... but for now.

Still restless, still sick... still sick and restless. So what do you do? You pick up the phone and call an old friend you love. You read a book or listen to a song that makes you cry. You do everything you can to remind yourself that you feel something... because it may be one of the only ways left to remind yourself that you are still human. Maybe that is why my body shut down, stopped breathing... to remind me to breath for myself.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Things have got from busy to hectic since I last blogged and sadly I haven’t even had time to go to the gym… something that my drill sergeant keeps banging on at me about. A semi-promotion (notably without a pay rise at the moment) has left me running around my huge learning curve, and trying to take in as much information as possible before the girl I am replacing leaves. I guess it is an honour to be given so much extra responsibilities… I guess we will see how much extra is an honour and how much is just chutzpah.

Meanwhile the weather in my little country of love has cooled dramatically and I find myself scratching my head wondering where I put all my long-sleeved t-shirts and jumpers. The balcony at work is flooded so now there is nowhere to run for fresh air except downstairs on to the street. The clouds have infiltrated the blue skies and no sun is to be seen, so there is no need to close the blinds. I stare out of my window to a grey sky reminiscent of the good old days in London. The only difference is the sea. At least I can see the sea… dark and gloomy today.

It is funny how the weather can control your mood. Yesterday so full of life and giggles, looking for costumes and trying on wigs for the Halloween party in Jerusalem tonight, today so full of rain and clouds that I am struggling to concentrate on my work. And to make matters worse, all my friends in the office decided to opt for a burger lunch. Tempting it was, but determined to extend my tenacity to myself I decided to eat the salad I had prepared, only to find that some evil person had eaten half of my salad! Was the whole thing not good enough for you?!?!

The rain falls, the clouds swirl and surge further and I am fast becoming an emotional wreck. Everyone has eaten already, my options are walk out in the rain, get a sandwich and eat alone in front of my computer, or I could just wait until I go home… but I am hungry! I walk around the office with a sad face until my pregnant friend orders me to eat with her… the beautiful girl made a meal of rice and schnitzel (the homemade kind, not the crap that people eat from the freezer) and all I had to do was chop the vegetables for a salad.

PF: Channah you have to get out of this blue mood!
ME: I don’t know what is wrong with me… I reckon it is just hormonal
PF: Oh girl that would be great if you were pregnant!!
ME: I don’t think pregnancy is catching…
PF: If it is I am changing your name to Mary!

We feasted like the queens we are, and talked about our lives. I am constantly amazed by the people I meet in Israel. In England I knew people who would whinge about their horrible lives and all they had ever lived through was not making rent one month! Here in Israel I sit and have lunch with someone who lost family members in a suicide bombing, and those who did not die were left heavily scarred both physically and emotionally. I eat and talk with a vibrant girl who after her family moves to the States because they are so traumatised by the situation here is told that her green card is being taken from her because she came back to Israel to be drafted by the army. While her whole family lived in the States she had to find a life for herself in Israel… alone. Her family in the States and her, homeless, in Israel, she now finds herself in love, in a family, married, with a child on the way.

PF: I never thought I would ever deserve happiness

Her statement fills me with sadness, especially when I think of those I know and love who have said the same sad statement to me. We all deserve happiness. I know my friend here realised that in the end… maybe when the clouds give way to a spot of blue we may all realise that too.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Boarding Past

I love airports. The smell, the hustle bustle, the background noise of the wheelie cases on the shiny floor and the badly behaved trolleys being pulled into line by a traveller with 3 cases piled high. I love the lights. I love the floor escalators that stretch on and on. I love the Bing Bong of the loud speaker, and I love the soft voice that says, “Please can all passengers flying on LY336 to Paris please make their way to the gate now. This flight is now boarding.” I love the golf trolleys that role around the airport delivering the elderly gentleman who got stuck in the toilets to his flight before they close the gate on him. I love the duty free section with its endless selection of perfumes and make-ups, wines and whiskeys, sunglasses, fluffy toys and giant Toblerone bars. I love the feeling of not knowing when you walk through the metal detector, and hold your breath waiting for the beep. I love the baggage collection area. I even have a soft spot for the queues at passport control.

However, regardless of whether I am a traveller or someone meeting a friend, my favourite thing about airports is the Arrivals lounge. I could sit for hours watching people greeting their friends, family and loved ones returning from their holidays, or flying in for a visit. The little old man arrives in to visit his son from England, expecting to find a shed for an airport and people walking around in funny clothes looks relieved if not warn out. The good-looking guy deep grin swaggers towards his girl-friend waiting with kisses and hugs... he has missed her. My favourite game, which I am useless at, is trying to figure out which arriving flight the strangers I see came from. Thankfully Amman is on the list as I would have got them all wrong!

As we stand waiting for Eli’s family and my friend to step through the doors, we control our excitement with this game, and turning around to stare at the beautiful guy behind us, trying to work out if he was there to meet a friend, family or a girlfriend… we were praying for family. It then occurred to us that an airport is a great place not just to pick up your friends and family members, but it is a great place to pick up some talent. The place is swarming with good looking people, only perhaps slightly on the pale side from the harsh lighting… or maybe it is just that I have already lost my summer glow… either way, one thing I am not a fan of at the airport. In the large arrivals lounge our game moves from guessing where they are from to ‘Are they really that good looking close up.’ For the most part I think I have the better taste of the two and decided that none of the guys arriving in were as worthy as the guy stood behind. But just as the voice of my more forward friends popped into my head saying ‘Give him your number,’ I saw a familiar face coming through the doors and heading to the opposite exit to where I was standing.

Forget tall beautiful man and time to hop. Skip and jump over people and their luggage. My friend, one of my best friends from England who had no idea I was coming to give him a kiss hello, finally noticed me stood grinning in his path and burst into a grinning, jumping, spring-back hug landing in perfect form on my right foot. Love is painful! Once we controlled ourselves and stopped hugging each other, I noticed the tall beautiful man was not looking in my direction anymore… “Wait… He is not my boyfriend! He is married for goodness sake! And I am not the right sex for him anyway!” But we had no time for fantasy explanations to my fantasy lover. We were on a mission of phone cards and making sure that Eli did not forget about me in her excitement to meet her mother, sister and splodge.

I suddenly flashed back to all the greetings my brother and I would share with our parents when visiting them in Israel. I remember the old terminal with the old arrivals lounge with the giant screen on the wall so people could see you coming before you walked out into the arrivals hall. I remember feeling not only greeted by my family, but also by all those strangers stood with banners and balloons in hand for their loved ones. I remember my final arrival into Israel; my family stood welcoming me home.

I remember my final departure from England. I remember my brother saying goodbye. I remember my brother, usually so in check of his emotions, hugging me and crying, while thrusting money into my hands for CD’s. I remember standing there, hugging him and saying goodbye and already planning in my head when I would go back to England to see him, and when he, my sister in law and the kiddies would be coming to Israel to see me. Now two years on, I have no date in my head. I have been and come back. He has visited and gone back to England, and now you ask me when I am next going to England and I have no idea… and that makes me sad. But I am determined it will be soon… so to all my favourite people in England, please note that I am thinking of you all, that I miss you all so much, that I am planning coming home to see you, and I am thinking of the Arrivals lounge.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What? Where? How?

When I first moved to Israel, I was often faced with the question posed by all Israelis, “But why on earth did you make Aliyah?” I guess those people who have never actually lived in London find it very easy to comment on how wonderful a city it is to work and live in. While other friends who were also faced with the same question would allow themselves to be dragged into the heated debate of which is a better place to live, Israel or London, I found a simple 9 word sentence would just these people up long enough so I could move on to another topic of conversation, or vacate the taxi, “You don’t have to understand it. Just accept it.” I chose to move to Israel from London… deal with it!

Now two years on, people have stopped asking the question, perhaps this is because I am still here… I survived the first year of bureaucracy and came out the other side. I survived the second year of job searching, flat hunting and roommate swapping, and I am still here living and breathing with a job, an apartment and great friends. I no longer get the question of “Why did you do it?” and more the question of, “Why do you not speak Hebrew?” I find it funny that they ask me this question in English… I think they pretty much answer the question themselves just in the asking.

My weekend was a long one, starting on Thursday night in Jerusalem at a wedding of an old Ulpan friend. It was a beautiful wedding, set on the hills of Jerusalem under a canopy that the bride had sewn herself. Gypsy musicians on stilts walked the tiny bride and groom to their Chupah where she gave herself to him, he placed a ring on her finger, they drank the dangerously red wine without spilling a drop on her stunning wedding dress, and successfully smashed the glass to a round of applause and L’Chaim! My ‘girlfriend’ Eli and I found that we had finally been put in our rightful place… on the cool table for a change right next to the dance floor! It was so nice to catch up with a couple of the dudes from Ulpan, and avoid the psycho American Army guy who used to freak me out with his tales on how he knew how to shoot to kill. It is nice to see how everyone has found their place here and are creating their lives afresh in the country they have chosen to call home. Relatives visiting Israel for the first time from the States were in awe at the beauty of the venue, the relaxed atmosphere, and the fact that their siblings had found such ‘great people’ as friends and confidants in their new home. I was therefore not surprised by a phone call on the way home… it is easy to miss someone when you are reminded how great they actually are. Kinda sad that it takes the words of others for you to suddenly realise that.

Anyway, back in Tel Aviv a weekend of Oestrogen lay ahead and all things considered it was a pretty smooth and enjoyable Shabbat for all. On Saturday lunch four new girls joined our meal and it was actually nice to have some fresh blood around the table. Ok so a couple of the new girls were a joy to have around… the others… well lets just say that telling a group of new Olim that you are “privileged enough not to HAVE to make Aliyah” really does not make you very endearing. In fact this naïve little American chick was pretty lucky that despite walking into the lions den waving a piece of meat, the lions were all too tired and overfed to rise to her bate… Although the thought of swatting her like a fly did pass our minds. As one person who had been dealing with maggots all day I was not really in the mood for a pesky fly… she would find herself caught in her own spider web one day with such talk. Let the spiders sort her out.

After Shabbat we found ourselves out again at another roof top party. I was expecting a glass of wine and an early night, and at first that was exactly what I got. However, the roof began to fill up with people, the music was raised a notch, and people were beginning to forget about work in the morning and have a good time. It could have been the alcohol, it could have been the excellent tunes provided by DJ Howie, it could have been more of the alcohol, but on behalf of those of us who lay low on the brew I would like to thank the man who put a permanent smile on my face for the whole evening.

Ely, I am sorry that I never got to speak to you, to find out anymore than your name and take this picture. I would love to know if the moustache is real or if it is a dare you had going with your friends. I would love to know if your father and your brothers have the same moustache and it is in fact a family tradition handed down from generation to generation. I would love to ask if you have ever auditioned for the Village people. I would love to ask if you have a special comb for it. I would love to ask if you dye it or if that is it’s real colour… if it is in fact real. And for the other guys at the party, the ones trying to get the attentions of the girl on the sofa who was engrossed in a Chemistry lesson (no that is not a euphemism) and failing, the ones stood around the edge of the balcony staring desperately without making a move, the ones hoping that someone would notice them… Take a tip from our friend Ely... You wanna stand out, you wanna be noticed, you want women clamouring to find out who you are (without having serious surgery on your nether regions) and take pictures of you… Get a funny moustache! Ely we love you!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Liquid Dream

This morning I awoke an hour before my alarm went off, and lay in bed wide-eyed, listening to the sounds of Tel Aviv waking up outside my window, and remembering the dream that had woken me from my deep slumber.

Before I went to sleep last night I stayed up for a while talking to Nooman; one eye on the football and one sympathetic eye listening to my sadness and long arms wrapped around me. I decided that as nice as this was and as much as I appreciated his words of love and sympathy I needed to retreat to myself and sort my own head out. Knowing it all is a disease. I know what people are going to tell me. I know the right and wrong things for me. I know what will and what will not make me happy… but ultimately when the tears start to flow, the tears start to flow and nothing I do and nothing I know will stop the voices in my head.

“What are you doing this for?”

“This is who you are… you will never change.”

“What do you expect? To be perfect?? No-one is perfect! Not even you Miss Boo.”

“You will fail.” “You should give up.”
“You shouldn’t give up.”

And then Nooman silences them, makes the tears flow faster, and says, “You know that you are more than this. You know that you have more to offer than just this. You are more fun to be around, you have more personality and spark… You are special.” But the trouble is that right at that moment I did not feel very special… I felt like the humus of the Middle East and not the variety with the herbs and pine kernels, but the plain old dry mushy kind that was left in the fridge too long.

I kissed my boo goodnight and walked to my room and collapsed into bed. I put the duvet back on the bed this week, and as the fan blared over my head I snuggled under the covers, closed my eyes, put the voices on mute and drifted into sleep.

I dreamt I was falling and as I fell I realised that I was in fact not falling, but sinking in clear blue water. I drifted, watching the bubbles from my mouth float upward. Around me were long stemmed seaweeds shooting endlessly upwards to the unreachable surface. In every leaf of the plant I saw eyes gazing at me. It seemed so beautiful at first, so I did not freak out that I was sinking further and further down and had no idea where the surface was. Blue finned sharks swam above my head, but I was not afraid. On the contrary I watched them envious… why had I not been born a shark? My old doll Mary floated up alongside me, and I stroked her curly hair one last time before she carried on to the surface. I was not ready to follow her up... it was so beautiful in the deep blue.
But when I looked back down I saw visions of the Scream, of Chucky from Childs Play, of the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and all the faces that scared me as a child. The water was cluttered with colours staining the clear water. I saw the faces of friends aging before me and I began to cry. With pained smiles they all reached for my hands, trying to drag me further down with them. I knew that if I wanted to get back to dry land I would have to swim up through the sharks that now had started to look menacing and seemed to swim in a ring of blood. My sister takes my hand, and just as she looks at me, her face pruned up so I could not tell which sister she was, I kicked away and swam upwards. I torpedoed up through the sharks, following the lines of the seaweed trees and heading towards the bright sunlight glittering through the blue.

I opened my eyes and my room was bright with sunlight. I looked at my clock to see my alarm was not due for another hour. So I lay back wide-eyed listening to the sounds of Tel Aviv waking up outside my window, and tried to decide what to wear for a wedding tonight.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Good Vibrations

So it is another typical day sat in the office, fighting over who has control over the radio, forwarding funny clips from Youtube and basically counting the hours down to lunch, before counting the hours down to home time. Days are made up of routine and schedule. I get up, I go to work, I go to the gym, and only then do I allow variety to enter my life. Today I am particularly excited! My good friend who I have not seen in weeks has ordered me to keep tonight free so we can go out to dinner, at a place of my choosing, where he will probably pay. I love it! He is the best kind of date to have… you know, the best guy friend who loves to listen to your shit, buy you food, get you drunk, and not try and sleep with you afterwards! Every girl should have one!

Anyway, I am at my desk, looking at my msn for someone worthwhile to disturb at work, when another guy friend calls me for a chat and to book me in for tomorrow. This friend, a true hippy, is forever spouting on about Universal Energies and Positive Energies and despite the fact that he claims to have given up the green stuff, I am not so sure… but today I was somehow willing to listen. Apparently today, October 17, 2006, is a day where the Universal alignment is as such that any positive energy you put out there will come on you 1000 fold. Now I am not someone who is usually into these things… actually that is a lie, I am totally gullible and love being told that if I forward this on to 5 people then my wish will come true in 5 days! But regardless of the fact that I am a total mug for these things I do feel that there is something to it.

The world is made up of energies bouncing around; colliding into one another, creating new energies… why is it therefore so strange to think that if we add a few more positives to the mix then some of them might not land back on our plate, knocking the negatives out of the way. Yes I am imagining the energies as bowling balls! But seriously, it is like your friends. When I am pouring energy into my friends they always seem to in-turn pour energy into me. This is the same for any relationship you have… well other than the ones where it seems like you a pouring the good stuff into a black hole.

I once heard a story that pretty much sums this up from a Jewish perspective:

A young couple who were about to be married, but were nervous of how it would work as they both came from failed marriages, went to see a therapist to ask for advise on how to make a marriage work. The therapist told them that marriage is all about ‘give and take’.

While preparing for their wedding they went to see the Rabbi who would be marrying them and told him what the therapist had said. The Rabbi looked at the young couple and smiled, “Marriage is not about giving and taking. Marriage is about unconditionally giving to another person.” The young woman turns to the Rabbi and asks “But Rabbi how do you know that your needs are being met?” The Rabbi smiles again (Rabbi’s have a habit of smiling) and says, “Because when you are both giving you do not need to be concerned with gaining… When you are both giving to each other then automatically your needs will be met.”

We as humans spend too much time wondering what we are going to get out of things. If my boss asks me to do a project I wonder am I going to get the credit?/ will this go towards my end of year pay review? In work this is totally justified, to my way of thinking anyway, but we have let it spread to our personal lives, and I am finding more and more this ‘tit for tat’ mentality entering relationships. In some ways it is fair enough. You feel like you are the one making all the effort and getting nothing in return. I guess it comes down to a choice; you can either give without the concern of your needs being met, or you can cut them out of your life… There is a difference between an energy source and a black hole.

Anyway, in the event that today is a special day where the energies are more pliable and willing to go where you want them to go, I am just a messenger sending out a notice that between the hours of 10am October 17, 2006 until 1am October 18, 2006 there is an energy free for all taking place in a city near you… and all you have to do is just let it out there!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Today is the first day of the winter for me… officially.
Today I put on trainers to work and slide the flip-flops under the bed til dryer times.
I stand by my window and watch the rain fall down.
I think about standing outside mouth wide open, arms stretched out to welcome it.

It is 7am… Later than usual for me to leave for work…

Then I realise that I have no umbrella, nothing to keep me dry, nothing to shelter me from the pour.
Should I wear more layers?
Is it cold and wet?
Or is it muggy and damp?

You are late!!

Outside with my raincoat over my head, I remember how far away my car is.
I jump over puddles and slide along slippery mud on the ground.
I pity smile at the dustbin men picking up the now sodden rubbish off the floor of the street,
And they glance back the “Fuck you” look of someone doing a job they detest.

What is that smell?

I am relieved to find my car where I left it,
I am grateful that I find it just as the smell of the sewers rises up to greet me.
I forgot how the rain in the fall differs from the springtime showers…
Spring is sweeter, Fall is fouler.

And all the flowers are now dead.

Put the wipers on…

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just something that put a smile on my face this morning

One day I am going to do the same... naked

More Smiles... It just gets better

Get this video and more at

Girls... I wanna see you do this tonight... without falling over ;)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dressing Up and Drinking Down

This week is passing by in a burgundy haze fuelled fumes of sweat, smoke and lots of red wine. Not that I am becoming an alcoholic, but nothing else seems to go with chats with friends, sushi, a bar stool, just after my shower after the gym. Seriously I have not become an alcoholic!

But on the plus side I have been working out like a fiend! Finally after months of forcing myself to go to the gym and only ever managing once a week if that, I have finally found the joy in the gym! Now I know many of you are going to think, knowing me as you do, that this is due to a man… but no, this is all me! I actually look forward every day to leaving work to go home, quick change, and walk through the Dizengoff centre to my gym. I am actually writing this blog because in 30 minutes I can leave and delve straight into my favourite routine… oh how the little things excite me now!

I love walking through the shopping centre seeing all the people plodding around, while I speed walk my way through the crowd, hopping down the steps, rushing past the people drinking their Café Afuchs and Croissants and straight on to the final slope to my gym where I am greeted by my favourite receptionist who swipes me through, smiles her perfect white smile and hands me my card back with a “Hey Channah” and wishing me a great work out! Yes it is cheesy, but I am growing to like it!

I run on the treadmill do a few weights, a few sit-ups and then head to elliptical trainer to end my session and I manage to do all this in around an hour so that I can be home in time to watch my favourite secret pleasure… The Gilmore Girls. Not even the cute guy asking to ‘know more about the gym’ and in the process ask for my number, will stop me from getting home in time for this little indulgence of mine! That is nothing until bloody Hallmark decided to move it from 6pm to 1pm… How am I supposed to rearrange my day around that?

So this week instead of coming home to one indulgence I have given in to another… Wine! And I wonder why on Monday night (oops I meant Sunday) I tried to get into bed fully clothed only to find myself on the floor… BOLLOX! I promptly decided that I was too drunk to go to sleep and stayed up to watch some TV and sober up... but I had only drunk 3 glasses of wine, and I am no light weight! I then realised that after coming back from the gym, showering, talking on the phone to a variety of people, I totally forgot to eat. Instead I enjoyed a liquid dinner of 3 glasses of red wine and my muscles were soaking up every dreamy drop! Hence my lack of bed to body co-ordination…

Now I am not telling you this so you can say “Channah has lost it”, “She’s becoming an alchi!”, “She’s drinking to deal with her problems”, “She must be feeling really low”. Seriously, I do see that after yesterday’s blog you may be thinking that I am in a very deep and serious place right now, but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, is that I am doing great! Life is cool! I am feeling healthier and better than ever! The wine is just a little rouge I like to put on every now and then for a little added colour (tee hee hee). Shit the more I protest the more I feel like taking up the 12 steps. Ok fine! I admit it I am a raging alcoholic and I love it!! Anyone wants me I’ll be in the bar! :-)

p.s. playing dress up with your friends and dancing around to music is a perfectly normal and healthy way to let off some steam. (just to explain the above picture)
p.s.s. 74% like Evangeline Lilly!!! My Life is now complete!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Words of Worth

“Every body’s talking at me… I don’t hear a word they’re saying”

I can’t hear it anymore… The words. I used to love the words. Being a person who loves the English language, I would lap them up one by one, let them swirl around my head, absorb into my brain and keep them there. Words of wisdom, words of love, words of worth… But I have heard so many of the same words, the same bullshit words, that they have become meaningless to me. The words of worth are now few and far between and the words of love have become worthless.

When did my heart produce the bounce back button? Is this something that happens to you with age? Or is this a sign of damaged goods?

I spent the weekend with my family in Ra’anana, and had the pleasure of my nieces and nephews being around too. It was such a joy to spend quality time with them. To watch them play together, fight together, find joy in life and scream their heads off when they were told they couldn’t have desert because they hit their brother. It was interesting to note that the Rabbi in Shul on Friday night (yes my dad almost died of shock that I was in Shul too!) brought up the topic of joy. He said “if you want to see joy in its purest form just head to your local Gan (nursery).” I didn’t have to go very far. There in my parents’ house was the Gan of the age 0 to 7, and on Shabbat afternoon I lay on the mattress fortress they had spent all afternoon making and destroying and read Mr. Men books and watched the joy on the faces when I promised to read another, when I let them play with my hair, when I smiled at them, and when their mum woke from her afternoon nap to feed them.

In my journey to find and unleash Channahboo I have been trying to look at my life through the eyes of a child and find the joy again. It has been successful to a large extent. I have found happiness in so many things; in the little things, in the big things, in my blood family and the family I have chosen for myself. The only area that dissatisfies me is the adult world, the world of words, a world without smiles and laughter, without holding hands and swinging in the air. We constantly have to explain ourselves, or at least we feel we do. No-one wants to be ‘the bad guy’ so we use words to explain away the bad actions. We lie to ourselves and to each other in order to appear to be the good one, the right one, the nice and kind one. Not the one who plays with other people’s emotions, not the one who takes advantage of our friends’ or loved ones’ kindness, not the one to use the other and not the one who calls an end to it, because that would make us ‘the bad guy’.

My two year old nephew, Noam, is just at the beginning of grasping the English language while simultaneously trying to grasp the Hebrew language. However, in doing this he uses more than words to express himself. I noticed that while the other children gabbled words out of their mouths trying to develop their vocabulary and learning to express their emotions with words, Noam’s face was more animated than the others. It was his primary way of communicating his emotions. His smiles seemed twice as big, and when I gave each of them a kiss goodbye his kisses were twice as loud as the others. Without words I knew that he was happy listening to my story, I knew that he was sensitive to me telling him to get off the bike, and without words I knew that he understood through my kisses that I was only afraid of him falling off and proceeded to get back on with a big grin on his face when I had moved it off the ledge and to a safer position.

So despite my love of words, despite my own urge to take words and make them beautiful, I have lost trust in these words… the words I hear.

“You are the best!”

The best what?

“You have no idea how much you mean to me”

Well actually I have no idea!

“We love each other”

I never said I love you… do you really love me?

“I can see myself falling in love with you”

But not now.

“You are truly amazing”

But not amazing enough.

“I still think about you”

I have heard it so many times before. And then there are the words of others. They are the words that I hear in my head coming out of the mouths of friends, and the words about you which have already been said about them. So while I am sat between the two, listening to both sides of the same story that all sound so familiar, who do I believe? Who has the ulterior motive? Who is trying to protect me? Who is out to dupe me? It is so confusing and so hurtful to me to think that I could have got it all so wrong, that I could have been so trusting and so stupid. I have been the player, I know the score… but I was told to be honest, to only say the words I meant. So while every body’s talking at me I am not going to hear a word they are saying, because I need more than words to show me how you feel. Or maybe the lack of, is actually worth a thousand words of worth.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I have finally pulled the plug on some of my added expenses. Well if I am ever going to be able to afford my own place I had better stop living like a lottery winner and start saving. So as part of my cut backs I have had to cut back on some of my extra curricular spending… that being my Latte Macchiato and croissant in the morning, my extravagant lunches at one of the many yummy restaurants in the area and most sad of all, my Yoga classes. As someone who belongs to a gym, which has its own yoga classes, it was becoming a little ridiculous paying for a gym and on top of that paying extra for yoga classes that I could be getting for free from my own gym. Although the yoga classes in my gym are not the same, the lovely Jamie is not teaching me, but Jamie is a sacrifice I will have to make for the sake of a home of my own.

Sad. Yes, but don’t cry for me just yet, because I have found a new passion to keep my adrenalin buzzing. Spinning!

Now I am very aware that I am probably one of the last people on this earth to discover Spinning, well including Ms Freeman. I am ready now to admit that in the past I was too scared or more truthfully, lazy, to try Spinning before. But now that I have done it I am hooked! The first class I took was more of an introduction to the bike; here is the seat – it should be at hip height, here is the resistance (Omes), here is the break, here are the peddles… In truth we only did about 20 minutes of a class that day, but it was more than enough for my poor bottom. People had warned me about the sheer exhaustion I would feel after the first class, they had warned me to drink lots of water, to take a towel with, to not eat anything before the class, but not one person had warned about the shear pain and potential damage it did to my rear end!

Obviously the designers spent more time ensuring that the front wheel of the bike (which is indoors and stagnant) cannot get water into it, than spending some time to ensure that my seat is padded sufficiently as to not burst a few blood vessels down there!

Gross! Ok so moving on…

Going to Spinning is like going to a bar. There are disco lights flaring around the room. The music is set to full blast. There are drinking sessions where the instructor makes us all take a shot before dragging us back to the dance floor for another ‘spin’. All in all it was pretty much a party, except for the fact that there was no alcohol to take my mind off the aching legs… perhaps an idea for my next class!

In truth I really loved the class. The instructor was charismatic and, despite the fact that we were all sweating together, made the whole class seem like such fun! Despite my initial trepidation and ‘cannot be arsed attitude’ to the whole thing, I ended up leaving the class grabbing Ms Freeman saying “My ass kills! But we are definitely going again next week!”

Now a week on I have to report that despite my ass-perience of the first class, the seat somehow didn’t hurt this time… Even Ms Freeman concurred! The second time around we had a different instructor who seemed to take the whole class up a notch and although we are all still very much beginners, we are all certainly a lot more confident about us spinning standing up, knowing when to switch on the resistance, and (judging by the way he pranced around the room) that Spinning us actually a good laugh!

Eli and I looked at each other and burst into hysterics as our instructor (the gayest fairy in the world) jumped off his bike as Rihanna started singing, “I don’t want to do this anymore… I don’t want to be the reason why”, and then proceeded to stand feat shoulder width apart, arms in the air, eyes closed, “Every time I walk out the door… I see him die a little more inside…” I swear I thought I was going to fall off the bike for a second then, but after a while it was more a case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em then join ‘em’ You ready Eli… 1..2..3 and “I don’t wanna do this anymore…”

Damn! Afterwards I felt so good! My skin was glowing, my lungs felt liberated, and despite the fact that my thighs felt tight and unmanageable I managed to climb up the stairs home to perform the dancing fairy routine for Nooman and Hugh with a little help from Ms Freeman.

Later I took a walk around the area… I couldn’t sleep… my adrenaline was still pumping and my skin was glowing too much to waste on being in my bed. The air in Tel Aviv is clearer, and it is far more comfortable being outside nowadays. I can smell the winter coming and I am actually looking forward to the rain… maybe I will regret saying that in a few weeks… but for now… let it rain!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fast Fast Slow

I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that it is already the time of year of praying, forgiving, apologising, striking the chest, wearing white, praying, going to shul, asking forgiveness, sending “Fast Well” text messages, receiving “Fast Well” messages, praying and praying that your prayers will be answered. I spent much of the ten days between Rosh Hashana (The Day of Judgement) and Yom Kippur preparing myself by looking back over my year. I found myself looking at what I have achieved and where I have stumbled and trying to decipher if I had in fact achieved anything at all, or if I had just carried on and arrived at another year with the same sins to ask forgiveness for and the same hopes for my future.

In truth, very little changes; the same daily struggles, the same men, the same fights, the same break-ups, the same breakdowns, the same excuses, the same denial, the same urge to try and make everything work, and the same let-down when I realise that just because I build it ‘he’ still may not come. It takes more than praying and fasting to make me change my ways, although there are things I have adapted somewhat. The change may not be so noticeable from one year to the next, but looking back to before I made Aliyah and now, I see such a vast difference. There is the physical difference which everyone can see, and then there is the difference in me… the change from Hannah Graham to Channahboo, the change that only those nearest and dearest to me can truly see for its worth. I can show anyone a before and after picture of me, but it is only certain people who can see the before and after shot of my soul.

There was a time that I thought that I was soulless. Not totally soulless, that is impossible, everyone has a soul, but in the sense that my soul never quite felt connected to the rest of me. I could not hear it talking to me, helping me make those decisions that only your soul (often thought to be your gut) can tell you. It seems that for years I had just blocked out that voice, and instead battled with the voices of my father, my teachers, my friends and the world before making my decisions. I have always had a pretty good idea what it feels like to be judged, to have expectations placed on you… “Channah is not fulfilling her full potential”… I never understood this as if I never fulfilled my “full potential” how did these people know what my full potential was! I certainly had no idea! Every decision I have ever made in my life I made with the thought in my mind, “What would those voices say?” I might chose to follow those voices or I might chose to disregard them, but in the initial processing of my thoughts, I ignored my own thoughts and listened to what I knew to be the view points of others. I thereby stopped listening to my gut/ my soul.

Last night I lay in bed, shushed the other voices and tried to let my soul speak. “Quiet there at the back!” I attempted the experiment a little on the tipsy side thinking that this would be the easiest way to block out the other voices… and it worked! Until 2.30am when I woke up thinking it was 6.00am and fell over. Back in bed, wide awake, I asked myself what it was I was hoping for this year, and after a long conversation with myself I fell into a deep sleep. At 6.30am my alarm went off, I woke up, got dressed, prepared my lunch, brushed my teeth, looked in the mirror and smiled… this is going to be a good year!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

System Down – 49 NIS

I arrived in early at work, feeling somewhat worse for wear, wearing the same clothes I wore the night before and craving coffee, to find the lights off, the gates closed, and the stench of burning overwhelming me. I limbered under the gate and saw the other early workers sitting out on the balcony, and began to feel the need for a damp cloth to place over my mouth… where is that smell coming from? The office is dark, apart from faint emergency exit lighting, which is too dim to really deserve the name lighting… more like gloss… The Emergency Exit signs sent a faint gloss around areas of the room. I almost bump into one of the file room boys, as we both go to swipe in… the swipe in machine gives the most pathetically weak response as if to say, “Urgh… welcome to work… let me go back to bed.” Today I can empathise with it… In fact I generally find the swipe in machine a little on the chirpy side in the morning!

I walk to my desk with the vain hope that my computer might still be up and working, and that I might still be able to check The Sun, check my emails, and say my good mornings to the msn icons I call friends. Of course this is just a silly pipe dream, and no matter how many times I push the On/Off switch, nothing is going on. Deep sigh. I place my bag under my desk, turn around and walk out onto the balcony to try and find out how long I am going to be cut off from the world for. And what is that burning smell?

The Office Manager is sat on the phone, in her pyjamas looking dishevelled and harassed, as I walk towards the others sat around people are shouting out “fire!” It turns out that at 4.45am a faulty light switch burnt out causing an explosion in one of the offices on the opposite side of the building to me. In an office usually inhabited by one of my friends, who is currently away on holiday… lucky thing! I walk round to inspect the damage, and find the wiring appearing as though pulled out from the wall, and a pile of burnt files lying on the floor. I look above my head and see the sprinklers and wonder why the floor is so dry. It appears that the sprinklers did not work either! Now I am feeling very secure in this ‘haven’ that my managers have taken care to provide for their precious workers… I stand on the spot waiting for the floor to give way!

More people arrive, and we find ourselves sitting out on the balcony, laughing and hoping that we will just get sent home, and be able to enjoy a day on the beach. I decide that without my usual morning ritual I am going to HAVE to get some coffee, so head out of the building. The rest of the office are working as normal, and I have an urge to run in and ask if I can quickly check the status of Posh’s hair, Tarrant’s marriage, and other vital English news. I see the girl sat in reception is the one who I always catch in the toilets walking out without washing her hands, so decide that her computer is not one that I wish to go anywhere near. I go down the elevator, out of the building, and walk to towards the cash machine, brushing by people rushing to get to work and almost being knocked over by the usual bleary eyed Israeli driver. Alive and well I arrive at the bank to find that, after my earlier smugness when my friends said they only had 700 shekels to last them until next month, I in fact only have 250 shekel to last me until the end of the month. Correction, after taking 200 out I actually only have 50, I mean 49 shekels! Every now and then g-d likes to do this to me… a little trip and fall to take me off my high horse…. “That'll wipe that smug grin off your face Little Miss Graham!”

It is only 3.30pm when the system is finally up and running, but it is too late, my batteries have worn down and there is no way I am going to work proactively today! I look forward to going home, to going to the gym, to getting some decent sleep, to going to my parents’ for the Chaggim… Meanwhile the air-conditioning is still not working, so I am also looking very much forward to a shower… and any other suggestions you have for some FREE entertainment let me know… Shana Tova Peeps!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Between my finger and my thumb

I would not say that I was an overly inquisitive child. I was not out searching for adventures everyday. I was happiest in front of the television. Although there was one incident where at the age of 18 months, I decided to make a great escape from the Graham household. I failed, as before my parents even noticed my absence a neighbour returned Little Channah Boo and my parents placed me back in front of the television and continued to prepare for Shabbat. However, I nevertheless would always seem to be able to get myself into scrapes, normal for any child; my brother managed to cut his head open in the same place 3 times… we called it his centre of gravity.

The centre of gravity in humans varies and depends on the age and sex of the human in questions, but it is fair to say that it is usual around the middle to pelvic area of the person… not the head (in the case of my brother) and certainly not in the index finger (as in the case of Little Miss Graham). My index finger is my centre of gravity. No matter what scrapes I have got into in my time it is the Index finger that has pointed the way as it were, to an extent that my nail refuses to grow straight or past a certain length on my right hand… I am right handed by the way.

As a girl my favourite scrape was to trap my finger in doors, draws, and cupboards… only my right index finger. I became so used to trapping this finger that there were times when I was at school, away from the sympathetic shoulder of my mother that I would simply stick the finger in my mouth and comfort myself. Today I did the same thing… I was taking a rice cracker out from my draw under my desk, and as I closed the draw behind me, I forgot that I had left behind my finger. After the initial silent pain, I automatically pushed the finger in my mouth.

This got me thinking; thinking about all the times I had done the same thing as a girl, thinking about all the events that had led to me trapping it in the first place, thinking about all the reasons that it was just this finger that I seemed to subconsciously have it in for, and thinking about what was the hidden meaning behind it all… well when you study English Lit for the best part of your life, you tend to analyse the meaning behind the most irrelevant things.

The Index finger is an interesting thing to study. If you were placing your hands into the phrase, “putting you best foot forward”, your index finger would be you “best foot”. It is the finger that leads you, be it as you use it to point in the direction you are going, to indicate to others what is holding your interest… basically it leads you. As a child it is key to your development. Children will generally use their index finger to point at items that gain their interest… this is before they can speak and say “Look at that massive spot on your face!” It is a sign of inquisition and discovery.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.

When shooting, it is the thumb which holds the gun steady and the index finger which pulls the trigger… I don’t write by hand anymore, I type, and I notice that when I type, my index finger still does most of the work. Seamus Heaney wrote the above quote as his own
way of expressing the power that is in his hands when he writes, he has the power to hurt the people who read him and the people who he writes about. As I write I discover more about myself, more about the things that I put to one side that come pouring out onto my desktop as type… So is that the relation between my finger and this blog? I don’t know, the thought came into my head and I had to write it down. I think I am starting to sound like Yoda, “All the power in the world is right here.” No matter where you point, there it is… and just look where HRH is putting it!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mother's Medicine

When I was young there was no room for being sick, no time in my busy life for a cold, for a day in front of the TV watching movies and eating ice-cream under my duvet. Whenever I approached the breakfast table looking like a used crash test dummy, and complaining of an ailment, my mother would suggest that I take a tablet, “Take a Solpadeine, it will make you feel a lot better.” So I would sit drinking my hot Ribena and swallow two Solpadeine before going to school, and for all my resentment that my mother would never let me just have a day off school, she was right… I did feel better.

The past week or so has not been easy. Work has been a total upheaval of reorganising duties and responsibilities, getting used to new bosses, and making sure that nothing got missed in the process. Then there is my own personal upheaval, the one where I am resurrecting the Little Miss Boo to full working order, dusting off the skinny jeans and making myself the image of the woman I feel. It is not easy when everything in life is not running smoothly to battle it out on all fronts. I feel that just as I am getting my workout routine in check, I am invited to a hundred work events, that I have to go to, but which totally disrupt my routine.

Then there is being a woman. In general I try not to be one. Not that I don’t love being a woman, and not that I am not feminine… I am. I try not to be too much of a woman in terms of being overemotional, over analytical and reading way too much into every situation. Clearly no-one is perfect, so it is somewhat unrealistic of me to expect that I can be the perfect juxtaposition of male and female in one body, but nevertheless I like to think that I am not the average girl…

…And then once every two months (because as I said I am not the average girl) all the emotions I put away in the ‘women only’ closet in my brain come gushing out in a wave of hormones, tirades of self pity, awash with salty tears and the inability to stop myself from drowning in my own self-despair. It is exhausting, especially as I know that non of it is me, the rational me. None of the words that are coming out of my mouth are coming from my heart, my heart which is part male and part female, but are coming direct from this strictly pheromonal place that I cannot control! I try to control myself, I should really just put the phone down, switch it off, close myself away in my apartment with a giant X on the door stating “Stay Away for at least 4 days!”, but I don’t because the stupid man in me thinks he can control the beast, and all men should know that they can never control the woman… not since we threw away the chastity belts and burnt our bras anyway…

My mother calls me and the tears will not stop flowing. I think sometimes my mother reacts to me crying the same way that I react to her being sick… with utter shock. In the case of my mother, it is because while the entire household would be suffering a stomach bug or a flu virus, my mother would always be fit as a fiddle and running around taking care of the sick. In the case of my tears, there is only one thing that makes me cry to my mother, and that has always been my father (well we have always had a nasty way of winding each other up!). So here I am on the phone crying for no reason other than, “I have no idea why I cannot stop crying,” when my mother in despair reverts back in time to when she would send me snivelling to school with a dose of ‘mother’s medicine’ inside of me:

Mum: Darling I think you need to take some Magnesium tablets… that will make you feel better

At this I laugh for the first time in 2 days

Me: Oh no Mum, no pill can make me feel better… Only I can do that!
Mum: I am worried about you darling, you are not yourself.
Me: No you are right… I am just getting so much better!

It is a teething period that makes my emotions rock solid stable one moment and the next teetering on the edge of the tight rope, but one thing I know is that I will never fall off, because I have the male and the female to balance me out…. Until I get to the other side.

Meanwhile apologies to all those of you who were on the sore end of my sour mood… I swear you are all safe for at least the next two months… And thanks to those who saw through it all enough to still want to hang out with me… I love you all!