Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Right to Vote

Well, I am back in work after a day off for the Israeli Elections, and initially that was all the day was going to be for me. A day off; a day to clean the house, do the laundry, finish reading the Celestine Prophecy, finish watching Munich, and hopefully get started on Commander in Chief. This was a good solid plan and in no part of it did I have any intention of voting, something that I was not particularly proud of. Confusing? Yes I am!

As a woman, and I say that not because I do not think that men hold the same value, but particularly as a woman I have held the view that we have a duty to vote. Why as a woman? Well what was suffrage for if not to give the future generations of women the right to vote? It was their gift to us, to me, and here I am in Israel contemplating not voting. More than that, I had pretty much decided that I was not going to vote. And like a good Jewish girl, the guilt was killing me.

While I was cleaning my house, Nooman took a break from his studies to post his ballot, and came back with the grin of satisfaction that only comes from an Oleh voting for the first time in his new country. I was a little envious, but shrugged it off and moved on to the next task on my list which was putting on the laundry. As the day unfolded friends on their way back or on their way to the polling stations dropped in to say "hi", discuss who they voted for, or who they were going to vote for. In this time I made no comment. As someone who had no intention of voting I was not about to give my opinion on their choice of candidate, nor was I going to get on my high horse about the sad state of Israeli Politics. Firstly, when you decide not to vote, I soon realized, you give up the right to an opinion on who you would or could vote for, because you are NOT. Secondly, I realised that where my political thinking in England could have been interpreted as somewhat apathetic, here in Israel they had become absolutely indifferent.

In England I voted; I told my friends that they had to vote, even though in the Labour rich area of Headingley, Leeds we knew our votes would be wasted, we still voted. Other than my own moral duty of voting, I felt there was something to vote for, a leader or a party that I believed in and someone that I could trust as much as you can trust a politician. In Israel I felt totally overwhelmed by the number of parties alone. How can I make an informed decision about who I am going to vote for if I have no idea who or what the parties are and who or what they stand for? I did make the effort to watch the party political broadcasts, but found that the parties were all too busy slagging each other off to actually bother to inform the public as to their policies. It would appear that the Israeli parties believe that you can run the country alone on the basis that "At least your leader isn't Bibi!" I personally think that Bibi got a tough run on the broadcasts, but regardless the only party actually talking about their policies what the party whose advert stated "We love Women, Pot Smokers, Homosexuals, Homeless and Arabs".

Ok, enough giving Israel a hard time. The truth is, if my Hebrew was at the level it should be for someone who has been studying the language since they were six, then perhaps I would be able to understand more and therefore be in a better position to make an informed decision!

Anyway, after being badgered to vote, for a few hours by two visiting friends, who only made me more defensive and angry, I decided to go and see my old wise friend who has always been a great advisor when it comes to my decision making. With his dog sprawled across my lap, we talked about our lives in Israel, how intergrated we feel, who we would vote for if we could be bothered to vote. And it was then that he admitted to me that he had in fact already voted.

ME: "But you are just as apathetic as I am! How come you decided to vote? And who did you vote for?"

OWF: "Yeah well, I wasn't going to vote, but then I decided that even though my vote doesn't really count, and that I don't really know who I want to vote for, I still feel it is important that we all vote"

And as simply as that I asked him if I could use his internet to find out where my polling station was. In truth, he was right. It did not matter that I didn't agree with one party in particular, it did not matter that I was disinterested in the policies that were not being thrown around the election. What mattered was that I stick to my original principles and vote, because God Dammit! I have the right!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Music Meme - You What? Me?

Does anyone out there know what a Meme is? Must be a blogging term or something. Anyway, I have finally been tagged... another new experience for me... by the lovely Jeru Guru. And as it has been too long since I posted I thought I would let you all see my music collection.

The rules: Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. The song that pops up when you pressp lay is the answer to that question.

1. How does the world see you? Enchantment - Corinne Bailey Rae

2. Will I have a happy life? Silent Sea - KT Tunstall

3. What do my friends really think of me? Honey Melon - The Slip

4. Do people secretly lust after me? Loving Cup- Rolling Stones

5. How can I make myself happy? Like a Star Corinne Bailey Rae

6. What should I do with my life? I Need More Love - Robert Randolph and his band

7. Will I ever have children? Lady Madonna - The Beatles

8. What is some good advice for me? Beautiful Day - U2

9. How will I be remembered? Under The Weather - KT Tunstall

10. What is my signature dancing song? Run Like Hell - Pink Floyd

11. What do I think my current theme song is? Center of Attention - Guster

12. What does everyone else think my current theme song is? Minature Disasters - KT Tunstall

13. What song will play at my funeral? Safety Dance - Men Without Hats

14. What type of women (I changed this to men) do you like? Grin - Guster

15. What is my day going to be like? A Touch of Grey - The Grateful Dead

And in the same spirit I tag Ginrod, Natalie and TickTock

Monday, March 20, 2006

Gym, Jogging and Chicken Soup

I woke up this morning with cuts and scrapes on my hands. I have no idea what I have been doing to myself in my sleep, and cutting up my cherry tomatoes for lunch my hands were stinging from the juice. I try to remember the dreams I had and all I can recall is a dream where I am walking around the supermarket with Little Lev buying alcohol for a party, although all Lev has in her hands is 2 cans of Coke. I am not sure what relevance this has to my hands being scratched, and the hand cream I keep on my desk is running low, so I make a mental note to go to the supermarket to buy some more in my lunch break.

By 11.30am smells of people cooking their lunches (chicken today) begin to waft into my office, and all I can think about is chicken! Funny as this morning I was reading about bird flu coming to Israel, but it reminds me that I have not made chicken soup in a while. My mum managed to track down some rice noodles for me, now that I find myself wheat intolerant I have to resist my favourite Chinese noodles in favour of something wheat free, so I am thinking constantly about chicken soup and noodles. Despite Herzliah Pituach being home to some of the best restaurants in Israel, not one serves chicken soup. In fact at this time of year very few have soup at all! The supermarket near my work is pretty lacking in the fresh produce variety, so I am waiting until I get home to go raid the Dizengoff centre supermarket for leeks, carrots and chicken pieces for the soup.

Plus, my gym has finally opened next door to the supermarket, which helps me formulate a plan for myself! After work I am going to head to the gym and pick up the list of the classes, paying particular attention to the spinning and yoga classes (I am planning to do Spinning 2 to 3 times a week and Yoga 1 to 2 times). Then I will pop into the supermarket, pick up my ingredients and head home to put the soup on. While the soup cooks I am going to take a long walk by the beach and de-clutter my brain… walking has always helped me refocus and empty out my brain of irrelevant thoughts.
This way I have all my bases covered;
Mind = Walking/ Jogging, Body = Gym, Spirit = Chicken Soup
… Well it is for the soul!

Mamma Graham's Chicken Soup

Lots of Carrots
A big Leek
2 Onions (left whole)
Then any other veggies you like (celery/ parsnips etc.)
Chicken Pieces (whatever your preference)
1 table spoon Chicken Soup mix.

Cut the veggies up and throw with the chicken pieces in a big pot of boiling water.
Cover and leave to cook.
Once cooked, skim off the fat and enjoy!

Serving suggestions:
Cook a portion of noodles and place in a large soup bowl
Pour the cooked chicken soup over including lots of veggies and chicken.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Got Milk?

So I was struggling to decide what I was going to wear for Purim. Being someone who hates dressing up, and hates costumes, all I wanted to do was go to a bar in my jeans and comfy shoes and dress down… as usual. However, everyone was talking about what they were wearing and where they were buying their costumes from, which made me feel somewhat out of the loop. It was then that I suddenly realised that I have never experienced Purim in Israel before! Can you believe it! I am a girl that has been in and out (insert whatever jokes you want) of Israel a million times throughout her life, spent a year here in-between school and university, and have lived here for almost two years and have as yet to experience Purim.

Purim is a time that is revelled and enjoyed by everyone in Israel. Regardless of religious level, people don their costumes, go out on the streets and join in the festivities. How had I, someone who loves a party, missed out on all this? So I decided that despite having a month from hell, I was going to let my hair down and have some serious fun! But what to wear?

My initial thought was to go for the cowboy theme, which was pretty much every other person's idea. And then the idea came to me "MILK". Not only is it my favourite word (you say it out-loud a couple of hundred times and you will understand why), but the word 'milk' also resonates as another word for nurturing… 'Mother's milk'. After my emotional month I decided that some nurturing was required. Plus when you think of milk, being in Israel, you cannot help but think about "The land of Milk and Honey". So as I sat on msn, chatting to my friends I looked to my right and noticed the picture on my MSN and decided that 'got milk' would be the perfect way to stamp a big closure sign on a month of misery and say "hello boys" to a fun loving lead up to Summer!

So I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who came to Moulan in Jerusalem on Tuesday night and helped me experience my first Purim in The land of Milk and Honey! It was a great night had by all who were in the right spirit to drink and be merry… and my favourite… dance our ASSES off!

Take a look at this site for more pictures of the evening (oh I even got in a couple)!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Best of This Weeks News

Pope loves his iPod
Provided by Ananova:

The Pope likes to unwind by listening to his iPod.
Pope Benedict XVI was given an iPod Nano as a present by staff at Vatican Radio.
Officials have loaded it with religious music, plus pieces by Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin.
He has been spotted around the Vatican using his iPod and distinctive white earphones.
According to The Sun a spokesman said: "He is very pleased with the iPod. The Holy Father likes to unwind listening to it and is of the opinion that this sort of technology is the future."
The Queen, President Bush and Tony Blair all own an iPod.

Story filed: 08:28 Wednesday 8th March 2006

It seems like everyone is hooked to their Ipod... I wonder what these people are listening to?
Any suggestions?

I like to imagine the Queen, turning 80 this year by the way, has the following on her playlist:

I leave the question about Bush and Blair to you!

Have a good weekend!

Monday, March 06, 2006

What A Girl Wants?

What do I want? It is a question that bothers me. In every situation in my life, I now come to realise, my decision about what I want has largely been controlled by what I don't want. I think this may be true for most women. We are very good at vocalising what we do not want… we do not want to be kept waiting, we do not want to be shouted at for being late when we are changing our outfit for the fifth time, we do not want to become some sad and lonely bitter woman with cats. But the truth is that we, modern women, have very little idea about what we do really want. I know there are plenty of women in the Katamon area especially who will disagree with this… they will claim that they know exactly what they want… they want to be settled with a husband and a minyan of children in Modi'in. However, I find very few of these women who at the same time are not eager to make something of their lives… to pursue their essence.

I have such admiration for those I know who are the lucky few to posses the will and tenacity to strive for something that they want. I always thought that I was one of these people, perhaps in circumstances I am, but faced with the plate of meat and 2 veg I will always begin chewing the sprout and lead up to the meat. I will always give consideration to every aspect of my life… even if it is just to say "no that is not for me". It is an exhausting existence to sit and think and contemplate every aspect of your life over and over again to determine what you want. The general response is "Well, you need to think about it and find what it is you want"… not especially helpful.

I try to think about it from the other angle, as I know I am very good at saying what I don't want, so I think about all the things that are unappealing to me in order to try and create a picture of what I would like. It is wearisome because there is no answer; no-one can tell me that I am heading in the right direction. Even my parents cannot give me the answers I am looking for, and this I know is because the answer is inside me… only I can answer my own questions. The issue here is that there is too much confusion. I know what my parents' expectations of me are, even though they say they would like me just to be happy, there is more to it than that. I see how my family have evolved and the path that is laid out for me to follow. I recognise that this is not just something reserved for my family, but too my friends as well, who have their paths set and see mine following a similar route… a route that has so far lead us all to Israel.

The problem is that in my journey I only got as far as the holy land, and in my quest here I would find the answers… here I would find my peace… here I would become the woman I envisioned myself as being. However, beauty is only skin deep, and when you are progressing forward there is no such thing as devolution. I cannot go back to being what I was, although in some respects I would like to. So in order to move on, to move forward I need to determine what it is I want.

Big problem… in the respect of what I want, I am totally clueless. A friend once asked me why I would go to everyone I knew in the pursuit of advice on any subject. I told him that it was because I like to hear everyone's opinions in order to reach my own judgement. My friend laughed at me and said "you go to anyone and everyone until you get the answer you want… the answer you have already reached on your own." My friend is wise beyond their years, as this, I know, is exactly what I do. I ask people to give me their opinions on my life, until I hear one that resonates with me. Why can I not do this myself? I give great advice to all my friends. I am generally a level headed kinda gal, who sees things realistically and who can also be compassionate to those who seek my advice. Yet I cannot do the same for myself. I cannot be compassionate and level headed for myself, which pretty much sucks!

"Channah you need to sit and think about what you want". When did we all start thinking so much? When did we all grow up and have to put so much thought into everything. When did life become that complicated? And where did our instincts go? I wouldn't even recognise my instinct if it jumped up and bit me on the nose! So no more thinking… I have decided that I will make no more decisions that require a great deal of thought. I am flying by the seat of my pants, I am going with the flow and I am going to see where the wind takes me. Maybe I will fail, maybe I will fall, but one thing I know is that I will pick myself up, because although I may not know what I want… I know that I do not ever want to fail… and it is that will in me that drives me forward and allows me to achieve my goals.

So if I am determining what I want by knowing what I do not want, then what do I do when I am not sure if I do not want something? How do I make the decision when I am being pulled in two different directions? I guess I'll start with the two veg until I get to the meat!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Best of This Weeks News

This week it is one for the boys... Enjoy!

March 1, 2006 DeFamer

The above photo of Lindsay Lohan at last night’s General Motors celebrity fashion show (yes, really) will likely spread on the internets faster than a love bug on VD Night at Mood, so prepare your inboxes for a barrage of links promising a glimpse of the starlet’s goodies. But after the Pavlovian drooling response induced by a famous nipple escaping its couture jail subsides, let’s all ask ourselves a question: “Now why would a nice girl like Lindsay allow herself to be photographed from an angle likely to result in a too-revealing view of her breast?” The more charitable among us might decide that the chaos caused by the flashbulb firing squad made Lohan forget how loose her garment was on the right side. The rest of us, however, might be inclined to think that she decided that it was finally time to show the world that she’s gotten her “curves” back. We’ll leave it to you to decide how surgically adept her “dietician” and “trainer” might be.

And for those of you out there that cannot get enough of Lindsay's assets...

And here is a little something for the girls....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Katamonster

It is another evening at home. I am sat watching Grey's Anatomy. I am hooked on it and have already managed to watch the first season and most of the second when a Jerusalem friend calls me for a chat. Living in Tel Aviv, I love to hear about the goings on in Jerusalem, from a safe distance that I can laugh. It makes me think that despite the city of gold only being a 45 minute drive away (depending on traffic and my speeding) in terms of the culture and the people who live there it is a million miles away. If Tel Aviv is a ghetto then Jerusalem is a Shtetl. Walking the streets of Jerusalem you could be mistaken for thinking that you have gone back in time. The people who walk the streets are from a different era. They say that you can tell the year an Oleh made Aliyah by the clothes they wear. In that case you can tell whether that Oleh lives in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem from the way they look at the clothes you are wearing… especially the women!

Prior to making Aliyah my only inclination for not moving to Jerusalem was the idea of becoming a "Desperately Seeking in Katamon". However, the DSK is the least of your worries. Nowadays men in Jerusalem are under threat from the "Katamonster". In order to find out more about this new breed of Jerusalemite Female, I went to the experts, I consulted with people who would be in the know and finally I managed to speak to Sir David Attenborough who has been doing his own research into the Katamonster in his new series "Life in the Underground". Attenborough has followed this new bread from it's origins in the UK, US, Australia and South Africa, to the steps of Ohel Nachama, and found some startling revelations:

ChannahBoo: Sir David Attenborough, please can you define the term "Katamonster"

D.A.: Katamonsters are a subspecies of the female homo-erectus (humans).Their preferred habitat is the rocky terrain of Jerusalem, where they tend to congregate by their thousands.

Although they are active throughout the week, their weekly peak occurs after sundown on Friday night, also known as the Sabbath. At said time, they gather at their watering holes, "houses of worship", throughout the resource-rich Katamon area.

ChannahBoo: What do you mean by "resource-rich"? You make them sound like predators.

D.A.: Well they are! As such, they are nocturnal predators, and the prey they seek is the male of the species. The Katamonster is not a fussy species, it will pretty much take anything that's going, as long as it has a head covering (kippa), a stable job (got to get those resources!) and can elevate their status from very much single to MARRIED!

ChannahBoo: So what makes the Katamonster any different from the "Desperately Seeking in Katamon"?

D.A: Good Question. The primary difference lies in their aggression. The DSK is generally a passive creature who prefers to appear weaker or delicate in order to capture her prey; however as the Jerusalem female has evolved she has increased her aggression, and in addition has learnt to hunt in packs.

The Katamonster is very much a social living, group orientated animal. They hunt in packs, led by a dominant individual who has been on the "J-town scene" the longest, until she herself finds a male and then hands the reigns on to the next budding leader.

ChannahBoo: It sounds then that these females are pretty loyal to one another.

D.A: Loyalty generally remains within the individual Pack. You need to be aware that there are many packs of Katamonsters lurking in the city. In addition the loyalty that exists within the pack only extends as far as being loyal to one another as opposed to members of other packs. If a male enters the circle of the pack it is every Katamonster for herself. There is an Israeli phrase that these women have made there own: "A Girlfriend is not a Wall"… so regardless of one of their fellow pack members having a boyfriend, if the Katamonster in question wants him she will pursue him regardless of girlfriend and regardless if his girlfriend is one of her pack members.

ChannahBoo: So what happens to a Katamonster once she finds a mate?

D.A: Once the Katamonster finds her lifelong mate, she is no longer considered to be a Katamonster. She is often envied by the others in her pack, but she also provides inspiration which tends to level things out somewhat. In recent years, there has been an observed and documented movement of former Katamonsters to the Modi'in area. The reasons for this can only be speculated for the time being, but a number of theories do exist

Theory 1) As punishment for leaving the pack, married females are banished to the barren city of Modi'in to lie out their days. This is an unlikely theory, but has yet to be disproved.

Theory 2) Once married, the Katamonster no longer craves large gatherings of single males and her priorities are very much focused in a different direction. Modi'in can be viewed as a rich breeding ground, where the female can concentrate on giving birth to and raising the next generation. This is to date the most likely theory.

Later I contemplated this theory and I realised that where I had previously pitied the DSK, I felt no pity for her new aggressive re-model. The Katamonster deserves no pity as she gives none. She has no pity for the women she tramples over in the scramble to claim her prize; she has no remorse for those she leaves heartbroken in her trail; she bares no thought to the hurtful words she uses to badmouth a competitor. I have heard so many stories surrounding these women that it no longer shocks me to what length they will go to, to get a man.

A friend, knowing the research I have been doing, sent me an advert from Janglo with a message in the email saying "Is this all we have left?" The advert was as follows:
This Thursday night 2 March 2006 we are starting a 7 week workshop series for single women. The workshop series is 2 1/2 hours per week and focuses on personal development in preparation for marriage.

Seriously girls are there not more important things in life? What happened to suffrage, feminism, women's rights? Did they burn their bras for nothing? What happened to making something of your life? Of building a career, of focusing your energies on yourself rather than trying to fill the hole in your life with a man… who generally is unworthy?

Regardless, why organise such an event on the night of the week best suited for going out and meeting someone?! Please girls, do yourselves a big favour; do not go to a self help seminar on how to meet a man. Go out with your girlfriends and enjoy the single life while you are still single and enjoy your youth instead of rushing to grow old, have babies and die. Follow the example of Meredith Grey and drink tequilla! Make a promise to yourself now regardless if you are a DKS or a Katamonster, that you are going to go out on Thursday night with your girlfriends and have FUN (fun = good time minus the hunt for a man). Seriously girl go out and get some respect!