Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Drunken, Disorderly and other Disasters

Sometimes there is only one answer to a long hard week at work, getting drunk. What else are the weekends for if not to recover from a night of debauchery on a Thursday night (Israel's Friday night – or the Jewish Friday Night piss up)? Thursday morning I was sat at my desk wondering if I still had the will to live, never mind venture out on a night out, when my "Bad Influence" (see Night Swimming) logged into msn. We decided that a girls night out could be just what we needed to unwind after a stressful (I wish my work was exciting enough to be stressful!) week at work. The boys were not too happy about this plan and the usual insult of "Lezzers" kept flicking up on messenger, but we did not care!

Sometimes a girl just needs to get out, minus a man, minus shaving her legs, minus putting on lipstick, and minus the urge to "meet someone" and just go out with the sole purpose of getting drunk and dancing their asses off! So the boys could boo hoo all they liked, but this was our night to have fun… NO MEN (or batteries) INCLUDED.

So in case you are planning a big night out this Thursday night, here is my advice to you:

  • Doll yourself up (even though you are not going out to meet someone you never know who you might bump into)
  • Wear sexy-comfortable shoes (there is a way to have it all!)
  • Delete all 'dangerous' phone numbers (see point 4 in Don'ts)
  • Lose your inhibitions (alcohol helps)
  • Dance your Ass off!
  • Fall over – it is an inevitable when you mix alcohol and dancing your ass off!
  • Make sure you have a day of nothing planned for the following day


  • Arrange to meet a friend for brunch in the morning – you'll regret it!
  • Wear stilettos – you'll regret it!
  • Mix your drinks – you'll regret it!
  • Snog anyone – ever heard of beer goggles? You'll regret it!
  • Drunk dial/ text message – you'll regret it!

And in case you wanted to know how my Thursday night went... well I managed to find me the best looking guy in Tel Aviv... he lives on Dizengoff!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Best of This Week's News

Provided by Ananova:

Cannabis smoker complained to police

A cannabis smoker has been arrested after complaining to police that he was sold bad weed.

Hans-Juergen Bendt, 52, from Darmstadt, lodged a complaint about his dealer with police after he sold him seven ounces of "completely un-enjoyable" hash.
Bendt complained the dealer refused to refund him the £270 he had paid for the drugs.

But despite the official complaint, in which Bendt described himself as a victim of "fraud" involving drugs of "absolutely mediocre quality", the officers failed to act upon the allegations and booked the complainant instead.

He is now being charged for the illegal purchase and possession of narcotic substances.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Rae of Light

I would not normally do this, but I make an exception for a fellow Leodiensian (Leeds Lass), and a good old friend of mine; a Corinne Bailey Rae. She has been labelled by the British Press as the next Billy Holiday, the next big thing to come out of English music, and as we used to hang in Allerton High school I am very very proud of her.

She is entering the UK charts this week with her beautiful song Put Your Records On at number 3 (that is what they are saying today). So check it out!

Good Luck Corinne!!!

Night Swimming

I am beginning to feel like this cold is never going to go, that I will permanently be a snivelling, red nosed mess. Everything has been aching for so long that I have forgetten how my body feels when healthy and normal (what is normal?). I hate feeling this way, especially when in every other respect I am feeling good. Life goes on and I refuse to allow myself to wallow in self pity… except when I am at work with nothing to do.

I have a renewed determination to enjoy as much of my life as I can. In England my happiness revolved around how well work was going, but here in Israel my job is not my vocation, I am working to sustain that standard of living that I moved to Israel for. While in England I would work long hours and have little time or energy leftover to spend with friends, to enjoy life, to do the spontaneous, however, in Israel I work standard, although very dull, hours and leave myself with long evenings to do whatever I want to do. For a long time this has primarily consisted of hanging out with Nooman and my 'Lust good friend' among others, watching TV, chilling out and essentially doing nothing. But nothing breads nothing and in the end you are left with nothing to show for doing nothing. So I decided that enough was enough, my life consists of more than the latest episode of Lost (although it has to be one of the best things on TV at the moment). I went out and joined the gym (not opening until March 8th); I started walking again, and most importantly writing again.

Sunday was a bad day at work. I had nothing in my in tray and was essentially trying to find work to do. My edginess gave way to me calling my friend who works in Herzlia as I do and ordering her that we need to enjoy more girly evenings! My friend otherwise known as my drinking buddy no.1 happily obliged and we and two others spent the evening drinking vodka red bulls at my apartment followed by dinner, more drinks, and an arrangement to go power walking the next day. When I first moved to Israel I would go power walking almost every night, but as I said, living with someone who you can quite happily spend every evening chilling out with has led to the power walking being put to one side in favour of doing nothing.

So after a long and satisfying day at work (a rarity) on Monday I made my way home and mentally prepared to do some serious working out! I was already tired, the cold shows no signs of leaving and I am feeling weak, but mind over matter I force myself to change into my running gear, put on the new wrist weights I bought myself and head to meet with my walking buddy. We walked the length of Tel Aviv beach, before heading back home. On the way we walk by Mikes Place and decide to stop in for a well deserved cocktail. One drink leads to another and pretty soon a lonely business man who wanted nothing more than our company (well… maybe a lunch date with my friend) bought us more drinks and pretty soon I was realising that as I had not eaten since lunch, my stomach was pretty much full of alcohol and nothing else. It was time to say our goodbyes, as we had promised ourselves bed by 11pm, and we started walking home along the beach. Two girls walking drunk by the sea is a dangerous thing… we had already promised ourselves that we would not succumb to the usual drunken antics of texting the "lust good friend" (although I had arranged to meet him after my walk which was supposed to end at 8pm) so we instead wobbled across the sand.

At 10.30pm, while we are laughing and joking, my father calls me to tell me that he and ma have just landed back in Israel and to check on how I was. Answering the phone to my father in a drunken state was possibly not the best of ideas, but I do and by the time I get off the phone my friend has decided that the water is beautiful and we should take advantage of living on the Mediterranean and just jump in. My initial refusal went on drunken ears and 'no' was not an option. I was about to remove my trouser and reveal a g-stringed bare bottom, when a group of Charedim walked past (possibly on a shidduch), I did for a moment think this was a sign… but was too drunk and my brain is too cloudy to think too much about signs. We jump in the sea, I fall and swallow water, which only heightens the drunken sensation I am feeling. The cool sea water and the sand is everywhere and I am thinking that although night swimming is great for your skin, the cold water might not be doing any favours to my recovery over my cold. Oh well, only time would tell, I would deal with it in the morning.

For now I had to deal with getting home and getting into a shower. I call Nooman to ask him to put the hot water on for me… he sighs and agrees that he will… possibly thinking what kind of alcoholic has he shacked himself up with this time! I leave my friend by the beach and begin my walk home, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other without falling over the last step. I see my bedraggled reflection in the window of a shop and laugh at what people must think of this girl in gym clothes walking down the street, her clothes getting wetter and wetter as she makes her way. My blue top is soaking in places so it looks like I am having nipple leakage, but I am too loaded to care what people think.

I keep seeing strangers ahead who look familiar. Maybe it is him, maybe he'll say "sorry babes, been so busy, but haven't stopped thinking about you", but the odds are that it isn't him and if he saw me, the walking wet, he would certainly not stop to tell me he was thinking about me, but walk straight past as if he doesn't know me.

I get home and Nooman is up watching Lost with a friend. I try to sober up enough to get in the shower without breaking my neck, but give up as I am too tired to stay up for another two hours, however I leave the door to the bathroom unlocked, just in case I do require Nooman to run in (closed eyed) and save my life.

I get into bed and sleep is mine. I drift away and dream sweet and vivid dreams. The "lust good friend" is stroking my face as I lay resting, and just as I wake he kisses me and swears that he'll be always there. I awake and he is gone, but the cold… the cold will never go!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Let There Be Light

Last night I walked home slowly feeling under the weather. My throat had been itching all day and the beginnings of a mid-season cold were beginning to take hold of me. As I listened to Lenny Kravitz, Believe, I walked as in a trance looking forward to being home, curling up on the sofa with a bowl of chicken soup (it is for the soul), taking copious amounts of drugs (legal) and passing out. My eyes were closing with every step that I was taking home, and my limbs were aching. I was definitely sick and in need of warmth, rest and sleep.

Home at last, I walk into my apartment and reach forward to switch the hallway light on, but nothing. I flicked the other light switches on and off, but no light. I think to myself that the fuse must have blown, so go to the electricity box in the stairway and find that the electricity has been switched off. There is a note in our electricity box informing that we have not paid the electricity bill. Damn! I thought Nooman had dealt with it.

The sun was all but gone and dusk was spreading around our apartment. I called Nooman panicking that I was to be stuck all night in a dark apartment with no electricity and hence no heater to sit next to and no hot chicken soup to drink. Close to tears, it became clear that we had both presumed the bill had been taken care of, and there was nothing to do but pay the bill and hope that the lights would go back on immediately. But after a long wait on their customer service line, unsure if I had pressed the correct options on their automated service, I was informed that it would take around 2 to 3 hours before the technician would come to switch the electricity back on.

Faced with the prospect of sitting in the dark for 3 hours I did what anyone with only minutes of light left, and ran around the house collecting tea lights that had never been used, opening a bottle of wine and sat, glass in hand, on the mirpeset overlooking the Shlomo Hamelech and King George interchange, and people watched.

Tel Aviv is really a fascinating place to watch when you have nothing to do. People and cars flow through the city as blood coursing through veins. There is a pattern and a rhythm to the city that you can only appreciate from a 2nd story building looking down on the streets below… slightly drunk. You begin to notice the number of cars that pulse through the street to the traffic light, queuing down the street. You start to recognise cars that are circling the block hunting for a parking space, and feel sorry for the silver VW Golf that loses a space after 3 turns down the street to a blue Mazda 6 that does not deserve the spot due to his incapability of parking in a space big enough for a small truck.

The rain begins, hard at first, then slowing to a mild but persistent shower. People walking home, walking dogs, walking in the rain with an umbrella and those braving the wet and wind as though it is summer. A giant cleavage walks down the street with her more sensibly dressed friend. Anyone would notice the cleavage; men because, well lets face it there are breasts on show; and women, like me, thinking how much we would like to put a coat on the stupid girl. When I lived in Leeds every weekend the streets would be filled with girls dressed in barely any clothes no matter the weather. I may be a northern lass, I may be used to the cold and the wet, however I choose to keep my more than ample cleavage under wraps when braving the elements. The cleavage and her friend take a left at the lights and walk out of my view.

I get briefly distracted by shouting coming from an apartment on the opposite side of the road to mine. It sounds like a father and son arguing. I try to listen in, but the words are in Hebrew and unclear, but I imagine that the father is shouting at his son to do some work towards his exams instead of sitting watching TV. The shouting stops with a door slamming, I presume the son has stropped off to his room to pretend to work while calling his friends/ girlfriend to complain about how overbearing his father is.

A man is stood on the corner of my street. He looks familiar, or is that just me after 3 glasses of wine hoping that he is familiar. He seems to be looking up in my direction, not that he would be able to see me sat in the dark, and I begin to think that maybe it is the person I hope it is. I know deep down that it isn't him, that if he were stood on my corner it would be with his dog. I think about calling him, but remembered that I am playing hard to get and that would be against the rules. I imagine him randomly turning up at my apartment with the excuse that he was walking by and just had the urge to see me.

Despite the rain the streets are busy with people; some with umbrellas, some with coats, some walking home from work and others, walking to the Dizengoff centre, some on phones… actually most people on their phones. I am not sure what I am looking out for, what my focus is, but I remember that Nooman promised he would be home to keep me company and here I was all alone, in the dark, my phone dead, and no Nooman in sight. I notice someone I recognise; Joel is walking Lucky in the rain. I feel a little guilty as I was supposed to join him, but the rain put me off moving, oh well… I'll ask him to come over later.

And then just as I was beginning to feel drowsy from all the wine and silence I turn my head to see the light of the television go on. We have electricity!!! I run around the flat switching on lights, switching off lights. As I heat up a bowl of chicken soup I am so happy that I run water until the water is hot and start washing up dishes that have been in the sink since the weekend. Washing up is one of my worst chores, but I am enjoying the hot water on my hands too much to care about that right now. In any case Nooman will be so happy to come home and find that not only is the electricity back on but the washing has also been done. I am the best roommate ever!

I had forgotten how sick I was feeling earlier; in hindsight it would have probably been better for my cold had I taken advantage of the lack of light and gone straight to bed. However, now with the apartment returned to normal working order, Nooman home (after hiding at work "working" so that he could surf the web) and a bowl of hot chicken soup in my hands, my cold did not seem so bad. Or was that the wine talking?

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Day to Forget

The 14th of February... the 45th day in the Gregorian Calendar; the day Henry Pelham became British Prime Minister; the day Oregon was admitted as the 33rd US state; the day Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone; the day of the first performance of Oscar Wilde's play "The Importance of Being Ernest"; the day that the League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago, Illinois; the day that IBM corporation was founded; the day Jeremy Levin (CNN reporter) was freed from Lebanon; the day British figure skating couple Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean skate off with a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo; and (my favourite) the day that Dolly the Sheep (the first cloned mammal) died.

However, you mention the date February the 14th and what do people think of? Valentine's Day. A day named after one of potentially three different saints. Not even the Catholic Church is 100% sure about which saint Valentine or Valentinus is THE Saint Valentine, so how on earth can anyone be 100% sure that February 14th is the day to celebrate at all! And what are we celebrating in the first place?

For eight hundred years prior to the establishment of Valentine's Day, the Romans had practiced a pagan celebration in mid-February commemorating young men's rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The celebration featured a lottery in which young men would draw the names of teenage girls from a box. The lucky girl assigned to each young man in that manner would be his sexual companion during the remaining year. Imagine if they continued to do this in the Israeli army! Hmmm actually with all the 18 year old beauties that come over for their year outs in Israel I guess we kinda do ;)

One legend I heard, which I like above the others, is set during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, as women are obviously too much of a distraction for a Roman man, the emperor ruled that no young men were allowed to marry, thus increasing the number of potential soldiers for his army. A priest called Valentine decided that this ruling was an injustice and continued to marry young lovers, resulting in Claudius ordering his death.

And in this priest's memory the world sends red roses to their loved ones; buy Valentines Day cards, consume chocolates and champagne all in the name of the martyred priest! What a crock of shit!

I beg of you people, put away your cash. If you love someone, then everyday is Valentines Day. You should never waste a day or wait for a day to tell the person that you love that you love them. You do not need to be told what day to celebrate the love you share, for your love is a personal matter. Now if you are, on the other hand a sad individual who uses the day named valentines day as an excuse to stop being such a woos and tell the one you have been obsessing about that you like them, I have one thing to say… Stop being such a pussy and just do it!

The day February 14th will always be Dolly the Sheep memorial day for me!

(this is an actual picture taken of her grave)

Dolly the (cloned) Sheep

1996 – 2003


Monday, February 06, 2006

I Don't Like Mondays

So work has been particularly painful today. After a restless night, battling with a blood thirsty mosquito I awoke and briefly contemplated sleeping in and arriving into work later than my 7.38am usual time of arrival, but the thought of all the extra hours I have to make up already got me out of bed and into a shower. There is an eerie silence around Tel Aviv at 6am… my windows are open and the rubbish trucks have not started their chug chug chug down my street, so I add to the silence blow drying my hair, warming my body, and possibly waking my roommate in the process. I put on clothes, attempt to undo the laces on my trainers, give up and put on my suede boots and hope it doesn't rain. I grab the food I have prepared for myself as I am trying to save money and not buy my food out everyday and run out of the house, always with the feeling that I have forgotten something. Walking to the bus stop I see in the distance that where there are usually a line of people waiting there was no-one waiting for the bus. Initially I was concerned that I may have missed the bus again and would have to drive, and then even more disappointingly I realised that I was early. Thankfully I recently invested in an ipod, although I still have not sorted out my playlists on itunes, nevertheless I put in my earphones and drown out the noise of Dizengoff listening to Jimi Hendrix.

The bus holds some slight amusement, as now that the school year is in full swing the back of the bus is full of trainee chefs in their black and white check trousers and Naot. The token girl walks onto the bus and joins her boy chefs at the back of the bus; however as the last one on the bus she has to stand. It takes me back to things my grandmother would have said… "In our day a gentleman would give up his seat to a lady." But none of these boys are gentleman and the little freicha joining them at the back of the bus is certainly not a lady! I used to try and listen into their conversations, but with the long awaited arrival of my ipod I prefer to switch off and gaze soulfully out of the window at Tel Aviv turning into Ramat Aviv to Herzelia. Today one of the boys was hand gesturing to the rest of the crowd for the length of the journey, so my curiosity got the better of me, and I listened intently to the best way to dress a Caesar salad… in a bowl tossing clockwise for your information… as opposed to stirring or tossing with utensils. Every day the same, the walk from where the bus drops me to my office, the wait for the green man to let me walk across the main road, the soldiers waiting at the bus stop outside my office. In the morning I try not to catch anyone's eye, the security guard at the front entrance has finally understood this and no longer tries to get me to speak or look at him in the morning. Smiling hurts before 8am.

Sometimes the mornings are my favourite time of the day. I sit at my computer, drinking my latte macchiato, listening to English radio, reading the Sun online and checking my emails. It usually helps to ease me into the day, alas today nothing could satisfy me. The Sun bore no news that I was interested in, and for the first time in months my inbox only held 3 emails of pure trite. At 8am there is no-one on messenger yet, so I proceed to search every online newspaper for some news or gossip to keep me amused until I have someone to talk to. I walk out onto the balcony and watch the sun move across the Mediterranean, flickering between the yachts that are docked in the Marina.

I return to my seat at 8.30am only half an hour and people will be logging in to say hi on msn. I get on with work in the meantime… the constant battle to remove as many files from my desk as possible before I lose the will to carry on or before the end of the day. One by one the people I love turn up on msn to amuse me as best as they can for the majority of the day. The best thing about people being on msn is the links they send you. There are only so many entertaining links you can find for yourself on Google before you get bored, so it is a relief when they keep coming through friends… the "feed me" icon (known to most people as the yawn) helps encourage certain individuals to help me stop falling asleep at my desk… that is until the rest of my team turn up.

Once the office is full, the radio is turned up and the sing along to Daniel Powter " Bad Day" can begin. It is the little things in life that put a smile back on my face and make me feel glad to be alive again… even when work sucks the life out.

After lunch the day gets dramatically better. Although I am still bored and restless, the end is in sight and I can look forward to getting back on the bus and heading home. The day quickly slopes down towards the time when I can leave work and my mind is racing with things I would like to do but haven't mustered the energy to do, like call a friend and go out and get drunk. The evenings are the time when I let my head go blank and enjoy chilling out with friends. My apartment sometimes feels like a commune with the number of people walking in and out, making themselves at home, but I would not have any other way. I love listening to the stories of their days, the latest dramas in their lives. I admittedly also like to close off and just watch whatever is on the television in a daze.

I think about making more use of my time. I think about finishing one of the books I have started writing. I think about calling some of my friends in the UK or the rest of the world just to say hello and hang up the phone. I think about running along the beach enjoying the sea spray against my face, hot and flushed from running. I think about how satisfying my life is in Israel. I think about how lucky I am to be so close to my family. I think about how lucky I am to have such wonderful friends living so close to me in Israel. I contemplate ways I would make my life better. I weigh up all my demons, all the battles I try to overcome on a day to day basis and I feel content with my achievements and my endeavours. And at the end of the day I fall into bed and thank the lord for giving me so much and blessing me in so many ways. Life is good.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Losing Faith

Well after a long and traumatic week, and bearing in mind that I was being forced to attend the Jerusalem Winter Ball (Eli… I did it for you baby!), a relaxing weekend away was definitely in order. However, where I was thinking a fun filled weekend up north or in Eilat, my friends had other plans and promptly invited themselves for a weekend at Hotel Graham situated in the beautiful resort of Ra'anana.

A weekend at the Graham household is certainly an experience. If you are looking for the ultimate in traditional Bnei Akiva style Shabbat, a ridiculous amount of food, drink and random conversation, then the Grahams will have it all for you with a few conditions; Mobile phones must be switched off, kippot are required, and don't forget your non-electric toothbrush (Sorry Shevel I couldn't help myself).

As when you stay with any family you will find that the Grahams have their own funny isms and strange habits. Namely arguing in the kitchen aka Neighbours and Home and Away, however in the Graham household you can hear the entire conversation. Then there is the obsession with the mirror… this comes from having too many vain girls in the family and a father who although about to turn 60 still has a full head of black hair (totally natural he is proud to tell… anyone who will listen!) But the thing that I think is most entertaining to my friends is the amount of flack I get from my family when I go back for the weekend.

Being the least religious in the family, also being the token "shiksa" (according to Mr. Graham), and finally as the middle child I sometimes feel like the main source of amusement for the rest of my family and any guests they have over. The main topic of conversation is generally my lack of boyfriend/ husband/ babies. However this weekend was different.

Firstly I recently got a pay rise, so other than the usual "you owe this one this much money" conversation reducing my raise to a huge deficit, my father began making suggestions for my plans for the future. The big plan for the future is buying an apartment for myself. Now let me be clear here, I have on a number of occasions made this suggestion to my father and received the same response, "when you get married you and your husband will buy somewhere together." And here I was being told by my father that I should no longer wait for a husband (if he ever comes along) but should start planning for the future for myself. Well the good man says that you cannot rely on anyone but yourself! (ha ha ha)

Secondly, over the last month my parents have been busy renovating the house and making important changes that they have been putting off over the last 5 years; namely buying new beds. My younger sisters and I have long been subjected to sleeping on narrow, uncomfortable and highly flammable beds that have long since been banned in the UK. So my parents have been shopping for new beds for their youngest 3 and single daughters. But as my father is now 'planning for the future' the beds are to be upgraded from singles to double beds… that is except for in my room which is apparently too small to hold a double bed!

This left me with the sudden and depressing realization that my parents have given up on me! I mean it is not that I enjoyed constantly being asked when I was thinking about getting married, but to be told that they now believed it would never happen was devastating! I have a vision of all my sisters living in their luxury houses in Ra'anana/ Herzlia Pituach with their rich husbands, coming to stay at mum and dad's for Shabbat in their plush double beds. I on the other hand, will be living in a pokey apartment in Tel Aviv, which was all I could afford for myself, and staying in the 'single' room in my parents' house when I want to go for Shabbat. Weddings and simchot that will never be mine came flashing into my head! Am I doomed to be the poor single Auntie forever? I mean if my family have given up all hope, then what is the point in carrying on! It just shows that all the tongue in cheek comments I have made to my parents over the last year about never getting married have stuck… they took me seriously!

So if anyone knows of a decent apartment going for sale in the Tel Aviv area… I am planning for the future!