Sunday, July 30, 2006

Never have I ever…

I am a firm believer that every Thursday night, when you are as footloose and fancy free as I am, you should party like it’s your birthday! However, when you invite everyone over for pre-drinks at your apartment; and after being stuck in traffic (because the Tel Aviv city counsel in their infinite wisdom decided to cut the main route from the highway to my place off for maintenance on a THURSDAY NIGHT!!!) everyone turns up late and drinks go on until you finally manage to leave the apartment at midnight, it is pretty tough to actually get in to decent bars in the city. The first bar was pretty decent, but way too full of people and there was little chance of getting a drink, so we walked out. The second bar had a very nice entrance way, but as the lady on the door said, “You crazy people trying to get into a place after midnight and not being best friends with the owner!”… Can I befriend him now? No? So on to the third place, which did the evilest thing a bar can do to a group of revellers… let everyone in apart from three!

As everyone had come out under my instruction, I felt bad that three of the posse were still stuck outside, so even though someone had just bought me a drink, I walked out, glass in hand (I might do this more often to replace the glasses I have smashed in my apartment) and dragged what revellers I could find back to my place to continue with the drinking and partying we had started all those hours earlier… some more early than others.

Take one group of drunkards, a lot of alcohol, and a few dozen shot glasses and you end up with everyone playing drinking games… the favourite being “I have never” or otherwise known as “Never have I ever”. For those of you who have never played the game involves everyone taking turns to say one thing they have never done, and those people in the circle who have done that thing have to drink… you get the picture.

Word got back to those who decided to stay at the bar, that there was a kinky drinking game going on at my place, and so my apartment was soon full of people (mainly women) giggling and sharing their most intimate stories. Somewhere in the process, I found a stick on tattoo and thought it would be a good idea to stick it to my left breast. “Hun, you have to wet it to make it stick”, so I dutifully licked it… totally oblivious to the guys all watching, tongues hanging out of their mouths. So the evening ended with everyone knowing a lot more about everyone elses’ sexual experiences, and the boys speedily driving home to Jerusalem to relive themselves…

“Never have I ever fooled around with two roommates…”

n.b. I made it into the press!!! I am famous!! Check out my quote (she only put in my jokey comments) Check out Ha'aretz

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Baby Boom Boom… oh yeah baby!

I am really interested in the current situation and the effects that it is having on people’s hormone levels. As mentioned in a previous blog, everyone I know is horny at the moment, and this has nothing to do with whether they have or haven’t been getting any recently. Everyone I come into contact with at the moment is talking about, praying for, or having lots of sex! It cannot go ignored that all of this is occurring around a time of war. The traditional outcome of all wars, win or lose, is a baby boom. It makes sense that after being at war soldiers will come home with an urge to settle down, bye a station wagon and make babies with the woman they had left behind. Equally on the other hand, the women will be more than eager to oblige as their men have finally returned! You see it is a win win situation.

“After the war, what happens? Soldiers return home, settle down, start families and buy station wagons? Sociologists would say that this is why Baby-booms occur…” (Unknown Author)

The there is the theory that our human instinct dictates that we should reproduce, and that therefore after a war, where there are many causalities, we have a natural instinct or urge to make up numbers. Seriously! It is not something we are consciously aware of, well except for sociologists who seem to be consciously aware of everything, but we do appear to like to keep the natural balance on the ‘natural’ demographics.

There is another theory posed by certain mystical groups that suggest that during the wars the souls of those killed come back home with the wounded and honoured soldiers to be reborn.

“The War/Baby-Boom relationship is just a single example of the cyclic balance between life, death and rebirth, between creative forces and destructive forces, between this world and the afterworld.”

So according to this theory the baby boom occurs because the souls of the dead want to be our children… I can just imagine our dead pouring back into Israel fighting over who they want to be their mothers and fathers! It is a little crazy for me, but I certainly don’t like to knock any theory… no matter how far fetched.

Anyway, in all my research (I have spent hours today checking this out!) I have not seen one word with regard to the effects of the “pre-war” hype on baby booms. I mean in as much as we are entering into a war with, well I shudder to think how far this may go, but let’s just say in comparison with other wars, we are still only at the beginning of this thing called war, surely the origin of the war too affects the outcome of baby boom. I have heard over and over again of women receiving calls and text messages out of the blue from men they have not spoken to in ages, calling for a booty call… why? Well they could just be horny, or it could be due to the fact that any moment these men could be called up
to the army and fight for their country. It is somewhat in the same spirit of the “Let’s do it for our country” scene in Grease 2… these guys want to get their end in before they end up in Lebanon!

And it is not just the men! I know not one woman at the moment who would not be eager to partake of some easy lovin’ with the right kind of guy. Now sitting with some of the women of my office we have come up with many theories as to how this could be:

1. Government Conspiracy – to repopulate the country either through:
i. Chemicals planted in large cities with a large young demographic ie Tel Aviv
ii. Something in the water – aphrodisiacs in the water
iii. Playing mushy love songs on the radio to encourage some snuggling up
iv. It is damn hot! heat = removing clothes = sex.

2. Natural Phenomenon :
i. Well as we as humans naturally need to repopulate we are naturally giving off pheromones and endorphins which encourage sexual activity (yo I am no doctor… ok I am ;))

3. We are just so scared that we might die that we wanna have one last great…

4. They finally discovered the drug to make any woman easy and are testing it in Israel!

In truth there is probably no connection between the war and the recent hormonal burst I have noticed around the city… but it is certainly something to think about… well… other than other things… did everyone notice the appearance of Smyth Jared on my blog yesterday? ;)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Now that I am off the antibiotics...

Just thought you might wanna know what I'll be drinking on Thursday night...

So you can buy me a glass of vodka! ABSOLUTLY!!!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Locating my Chakra

Last night in an effort to mix my workout and friends in one big melting pot of alcohol-free sociability, I went with a couple of friends to my first yoga class. As is unfortunately usual for me, I was running somewhat late, so after speed walking down Dizengoff to Bazel Street, I arrived already sweating and feeling a little out of my depth when the yoga instructor came to meet me and give me a little intro into my first class. I was relieved when he opened his mouth to find that not only was he really lovely and welcoming, but he was also 100% English spoken, well it was going to be hard enough to keep up with all the “lotus flower” talk in English, never mind in Hebrew!

I was concerned that I would not be able to get into, as in focus on the class, that I would be so concerned about falling flat on my face that I would end up… well flat on my face, and feeling like a fool. But this was just not the case. Firstly the years of going to gymnastic classes, had finally paid off! I was actually a lot more flexible than I had ever given myself credit for, and found that a lot of the poses were totally achievable, although when it came to the putting the knees behind the ears I decided to pass… well there is always room for improvement. Plus I have always had a thing about sweating. Being someone who sweats easily (I know I am sorry), I was perturbed to find that the room was not freezing cold to accommodate the sweaters in the room (the teacher included). However as the class went on I began to enjoy the feeling of sweat dripping down my body, through the crease in my neck, down through my cleavage as I stood arms stretched above my head, and then flowing back down my neck and along my chin to my mouth as I bent down to the ground. Yeah I know it sounds pretty gross, but in the moment there was something so pure and sensual about the whole experience.

My preconceptions of yoga had always been based on the kind of people who were really into yoga, this includes my good friend Elana… they always seemed a little spaced out… not ‘normal’… most probably on some drug or other. Now however, I see that yoga itself is pretty much a drug. Apologies in advance for sounding like a total hippie! I found that the more I became in tune with my breathing, and how my body was feeling, the more everything else just disappeared, even the people around me, even the room… I was on a hilltop in India while children in white danced around me plinking little finger cymbals together, while an elephant stood nearby with incense coming from incense holders attached to the brightly coloured rigging on his body. Don’t get me wrong, when everyone was breathing deeply in to “OMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM” out, I did have to control the urge to burst into laughter, but once my mind was firmly in the ‘Zen’, there was no turning back. The class came to an end with the entire room lying on their mats in darkness breathing in and out. The assistant at this point came around and one by one but her hands on our shoulders pressing them into the ground, and then putting her hands behind our necks. I have never enjoyed being touched so much in my life! Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration, but whereas I kept my mouth firmly shut and concentrated on my breathing, the people either side of me had no such manner to hold back the sounds of utter pleasure after this! I was jealous!

After an hour and a half my body was feeling so relaxed, so relieved, so rejuvenated that I pretty much bounced back to my apartment. When I walked in Nooman looked at me somewhat bemused and said with a big grin on his face;

Nooman: Where have you been? And who have you been with!
Me: I was at yoga with the girls…
Nooman: Ha ha so that’s why you are glowing!!

So for all those people who I spoke to last week who were complaining about being sexually frustrated, ok that was pretty much everyone, my advice to you is go out and find your local yoga class… It may not be a permanent solution, but it is certainly a good short term fix!

FYI: Today is my last day of antibiotics!!!! I can already smell the red red wine!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Who has the Power?

The power went down in my office this morning, and as we all made our way onto the balcony to wait it out, it became apparent that we were not alone. I phone call from a friend deeper into Herzlia Pituach revealed that the power had gone out all over the city, so no point in going to the mall to shop the power cut out. I am supposed to be meeting my father for lunch today… we are having a Father and daughter lunch for no other reason than my mother has chucked him out of the house so that she and her book club could reorganise their library in peace… I guess without dad making suggestions on how best to organise the books (“Girly Crap”, “Depressing Girly Crap” and “Only Oprah Would Read This Crap”) So I called my dad to check if the power cut had spread as far as Ra’anana. I was surprised to hear laughter being his only reaction…

Me: What’s so funny?
Mr. Graham: Well the house has fine electricity, but I just came back from the bank. I was taking money out for lunch only to find that when I put my card in the machine the power went off… eating my credit card.

At this point I get into a little panic… someone other than me ate Daddy’s credit card!!!

Me: You have other credit cards right!!

My Dad continues, ignoring my little panic attack.

Mr. Graham: Well I went into the bank and said to the lady there “You need to pay your leccy bill luv” ha ha ha

I love how my dad laughs at his own jokes!

Me: So you got your credit card back?
Mr. Graham: Well not exactly. She said that my branch would have to send a letter stating that they should release my card. Only problem is that the electricity was still off so we could not send the fax.

Me: But you have other credit cards right!!
Mr: Graham: Of course darling!!!... I have yours!! HA HA HA

Back in the office, the girls are sitting on the floor giving each other manicures, while I am starting to go further into ADD mode, and wishing that someone owned a guitar, or that I had chosen to learn to play the guitar instead of the clarinet, and could actually amuse myself. I call Nooman to check the situation in Tel Aviv, and it would appear that the Azrieli centre is still standing although the traffic lights have gone down. I look out of my window that looks onto the main Herzlia junction and see that all the traffic lights are out, creating a standstill leading all the way back up to Ra’anana. No wonder my Kfar Saba workmates are running late… there is only one direct route to get from Kfar Saba to Herzlia, and the only way is through that traffic!

Half an hour later, the electricity is back up and working. My dad calls me to confirm that all is fine; he has got his card back (PHEW!), we are back on for lunch, although he cannot get any cash out so I am going to have to pay the tip… a small price to pay I guess.

My work colleague just walked in… he finally made it from Kfar Saba, and while the rest of us are asking him if it was due to the power cut, he gives us all a look of amazement.

Workmate: There are terrorist warnings in Kfar Saba and Ra’anana… The sirens are going off all over the city… I cannot believe you haven’t heard about it!

The smile is wiped from my face. My parents are in Ra’anana. My dad is running around trying to get money out, and never at any point mentioned the terror alert. My gut reaction is to call him and tell him to go home, to cancel our lunch, but for some reason I don’t. Of course I am concerned! I am also concerned that at any moment a Katyusha rocket could land on my building! But at the same time I am not going to let my life be affected by it! It may seem ridiculous to those of you who live in your ‘peaceful’ towns and cities who cannot imagine what it must be like to live in a country surrounded by nations that hate us and only want to see us obliterated. It must be weird to imagine living in the knowledge that you could die while on your way to safety. And even while we fight a war on two fronts, the third front of terrorists with bombs strapped to their body still continue to try to kill our people. I would like the G8 to explain to me what they mean by disproportionate response! I feel for the people of Lebanon… the modern and open minded citizens who live in peace and want to live in peace… but I cannot understand how people refer to Hezbollah and Hamas in the same way they refer to the Conservatives and Labour parties. They are terrorists… they are NOT freedom fighters or militants, they are Terrorists! They are part of the same group who were behind 9/11 and 7/7! It makes me laugh that when they attack anywhere other than Israel then they are terrorists… when they attack Israel, they are “freedom fighters”! I am coming to terms with the fact that we are on our own. We have to and we have already defended ourselves… so in terms of asking for your approval?? No thanks… we are alone, we will give ourselves approval… but thanks for the offer!

Meanwhile my dad is still trying to make his way to Herzlia for our father and daughter lunch...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I have really itchy feet today… not physically, but I just have an urge to go out, do something, dance, go crazy, do anything other than sit in the office and stare at the screen. I considered leaving work and going to the gym and coming back after lunch, but the problem is that my gym is next door to my apartment, so by the time I drove home and got into my gym clothes it would be time to make the drive back to Herzlia and work. I dream of a day when I have a gym in my office so that whenever I get the urge I can go to the gym, or even better I could just work from home and when the urge takes me to go to the gym, or sleep, or open a bottle of wine, or watch TV, or go for a walk (you get the point) I could just do it!

Just do it! It’s a great advert, the problem is that in the real world where people have to work nine to six (whatever happened to nine to five?) it is a little difficult to just get up and run when the mood takes you… not that the mood ever takes me in that direction, but you get where I am coming from. I am on edge, I need release, I need to punch something, I need to dance my ass off as opposed to sitting on my ass for nine hours doing something totally unfulfilling. But even when I turn my hand to something more fulfilling, like writing my blog, writing my book or reading my favourite blogs, I am still totally unsatisfied, because I don’t want to be sitting at all! Sorry I am not complaining… I am just stating a fact so you can understand my state of body… my mind isn’t really connected at the moment.

The problem is that I think that the painkillers, antibiotics, and all the vitamins I am on at the moment, have created a chemical reaction in my body which is literally making it move of its own accord. It is worse in the mornings. I am jumping out of bed, even though my eyes are still closed, I am grooving in the office when no-one else is even listening to the music. Yes I do look pretty funny shaking my ass while still sat on my chair, and yes people in the office think that I am loco, but to be fair they have thought that for a long time. My work colleagues do find me entertaining, “Channah’s gone ADD again!” The girls in the IL department stick their heads over our wall to watch the Channah Comedy Show, which gives me a nice break and a good giggle. This is when I would like to be going to the gym! But no sooner after I come back from lunch, the chemical imbalance shifts again and I find myself sluggish and tired… no energy to lift my finger to type, nevermind do a full workout. My eyes are closing, and my brain has turned to mush, and all I want to do is find a little corner somewhere where I can sleep in peace… I just don’t want to have to go too far to get there… under my desk maybe? “No no… the entertainment club is shut… no I don’t want to laugh about how your boss stares at my boobs! He can stare all he likes for all I care… Yes I know he was an ass man before I joined the office… Please just let me sleep!”

I go home. I potter around the apartment for a few, and then BAM! Suddenly I have all the energy and more that I had in the morning. It is a mystery how the chemicals swirl around my body and then rush to the surface in waves… how I wish I could channel that energy somehow to ensure that I reach my peak just as I put on my gym clothes, but obviously it does not work that way, and instead I find myself in the local shop staring longingly at the bottles of red wine that I cannot drink at the moment because of these damn antibiotics!! Oh well, only five more days to go… I swear I will return to sanity soon… I hope…. Help?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Operation Bomb Shelter

Yesterday morning my office received a phone call from the IDF ensuring that our bomb shelters and sealed rooms were prepared to be used. At the time of the phone call our two sealed rooms, located next to the elevators, were filled with some nine thousand files as is the norm for a sizeable Law firm. Since yesterday the file room boys have been working tirelessly to empty the rooms and ensure that they are secure in case of emergency. The only issue I have is that unless I am very much mistaken, Hezbollah is not launching a chemical warfare... is it? Therefore, I am thinking, a sealed room is not going to protect me from a Katyusha rocket ripping through our building, and my little sealed room on the fourth floor plummeting to the ground.

It doesn’t matter how safe the HR manager claims it is. In truth, I want to ask her if she has ever thrown a rocket on to the building to check how safe it in fact is, but I try to refrain from being rude to her… I mean she’s in charge of my pay cheque! Anyway, in the privacy of my five people office, I disclose my plan for when the sirens go off. While everyone else is rushing to squash themselves inside one of two tiny sealed rooms, fully furnished with a bucket in each (I won’t let my thoughts go any further than that! Ok I have, but I am not grossing you out any more than I already am!) I plan to head down the emergency stairwell and on to the lower level car park, where I will get into my car and drown out the noise of the explosions and falling debris with the vocal talents of Sheryl Crow. And if that is how my life reaches its end, well “If it makes you happy… it can’t be that bad”!

CB: Yeah that’s all good and well unless it’s playing “My Favourite Mistake”
Me: “The First Cut is The Deepest” or “There Goes The Neighbourhood” would do too…

Speaking of the neighbourhood, it looks like if in the case of a rocket landing in Tel Aviv I will have to find one of the communal shelters in the surrounding areas, which has its pros and cons, I mean the time it takes to get from my apartment to one of these shelters does not fill me with joy, especially as the authorities have stated that the sirens will go off approximately 1 minute before a mortar hits the city. So in the event of the siren going off I have around one minute to firstly hear the siren and then get myself to the local shelter, which is a 2 minute walk away… at least! What if I am in bed when it goes off… realistically it takes me at least a minute to put some clothes on, never mind getting out of the house!

But then on the other hand my friends and I have decided that in the spirit of what to take to the bomb shelter, this is a good opportunity to share our goods… alcohol and drugs are pretty much the list… but what else do you need when the world is crashing down around you? Hmmmm… a guitar maybe? Oooh!!! Any guitar players who live in the Dizengoff centre area, make sure you head to the local bomb shelter… drugs and alcohol will be provided!

Actually this might all be a bit of a problem, as I am currently the walking chemist. No I have not undergone a career change to drug dealer. After my swift recovery from my root canal, I am now experiencing a new tooth problem (my dentist thinks I should save myself some cash and just move into his surgery). I have now got a wisdom tooth causing me no end of grief. What does this mean? Well it means that I am back on antibiotics! Which means that I am back off alcohol and back onto pain killers! No pity please people! Seriously don’t pity the fool! Just sit back and enjoy my ramblings going even more off the edge as I become more and more delusional thanks to the painkillers, antibiotics, ibuprofen, and green tea tablets I am currently taking!

FYI: there is a reason that they do not show clips from Israeli news on CNN! We Israelis in the face of danger prefer to laugh our asses off!
“Hassan Nasrallah is that the best you can do! Loser!... Has the barakas place re-opened yet?” (Typical Israeli Ars from Tiberius smoking a pack of Nobblus cigarettes)

I tell you, Jackie Mason could not have done it better, and this was on Israel’s main news channel! While the Arab world knows that the best PR is woman and children crying and tearing at their clothes, the Israelis prefer to be caught in shot laughing, picking up debris while sucking an ice-lolly… well it’s damn hot here!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Breaking News - Israel in the Press

What did you do this weekend?

After the weekend, everyone asks the same question… and generally my bleary eyed look on a Sunday morning will pretty much speak for itself. This week however, we all have the same response, “We watched the news”.

Not being someone who usually likes to pay too much attention to what is going on in the news, as an Israeli citizen it is difficult to turn a blind eye to recent events. This weekend was spent in front of the TV, watching the endless reports and breaking news on the current situation in Israel and Lebanon. Never did I think on Wednesday, that the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers on Israeli soil, would escalate to the level that it has, but here we are in a state of war, and I tell myself that I am just naïve for believing that it was ever going to end any other way.

I guess you want to know how it makes me feel. I guess you want to know how an English Jew who made Aliyah two years ago sees her future in Israel pursuant to recent events. I suspect that you have also seen the endless news and wondered how someone who has citizenship elsewhere would still continue to live in what I presume you see as a war torn country.

I want to be honest, I want to tell you the truth about how this all makes me feel, but in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the truth has always been an illusive commodity that very seldom shows its face. While watching CNN, BBC, and Sky News, I see what the rest of the world sees, I feel the concern that my friends and family in England must feel watching those reports, and it saddens me that this is what Israel has come to… a side headline on the “Lebanon Crisis” banner stating “Israel bombards Lebanon”. In the rush to report, the ‘who started what’ becomes confusing, and the facts disappear into the latest headline… the current situation… it does not matter how it arose, or who made the first attack… Israel is stronger than Hezbollah, therefore it is Israel who must show restraint. This will always be the truth as seen by the world, as truth be known that the press love to support who they see as the ‘under-dog’. Israel in its short history has never allowed herself to be the under-dog, the victim… she has stood on her hind legs and defended herself when the rest of the world turned its back. So when criticised for defending her own borders, what else do you expect her to do?

BREAKING NEWS: A Katusha rocket just hit the central train station in Haifa killing 8 people so far…

What is the solution?

On Friday I watched the UN Security Council meet for an open debate on "The Situation in the Middle East". During this debate I for the first time watched Israel openly defend its actions in an articulate verbal manner. Dan Gillerman, Israel’s UN Ambassador, spoke in response to the typical speech made by the Lebanese Ambassador (reported by the BBC as ‘The Palestinian representative’… idiots!). I want to quote some of what he said, as it was the first time that I have watched a representative of Israel speak and not wondered why on earth we chose that shmuck to speak on behalf of our nation... Dan you did us proud! You kicked ass!

“Mr. President,

There are words that speak far louder and clearer than anything I can voice today…
the words of an unnamed Lebanese minister, who said, “The Hezbollah has not only kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, it has taken the whole of Lebanon hostage.”

Mr. President,

With your permission, I would like to make a personal appeal to my esteemed Lebanese colleague.

Your Excellency,

You know, deep down, that if you could, you would add your voice to those of your brave countrymen. You know, deep down in your heart, that you should really be sitting here, next to me, voicing the same opinion. You know that what we are doing is right, and, if we succeed, your country will be the real beneficiary. I am sure many of our colleagues around this table and in this chamber, including many or our neighbours, share this sentiment.

Mr. President,

This Council and the international community have a duty today to help the Lebanese people achieve the goal of a free, prosperous and democratic Lebanon. The sad and tormented life of this war-torn land has today entered another sad chapter in its history. It is up to every one of us to help write this chapter, to ensure that this opportunity is seized, not only for the benefit of the Lebanese and Israeli people, but for the sake of generations to come.”

For the full speech, please take a look at this link.

The sad thing was that due to the UN’s inefficiency, this speech was a waste of Dan’s breath. It clearly fell on deaf ears, as was shown when it was followed by the Russian representative harking on about ‘even handidness’. I ask the Russian to be even handed with his ‘friendly’ neighbours when ambushed and bombed. Would he sit back and be ‘even-handed’ or would he rightly defend his country? I think the later… but lets all be honest here… the UN is as much use to the world as the Eurovision Song Contest. The same countries vote for the same countries every year, and we can always rely on the fact that while the US backs Israel (every time!) Russia and France will always back the ‘other side’, or whoever the US does not support. Sometimes I wonder if having the World’s superpower as our friend really does us any favours.

Solution? We are at war… that is the only solution. And if it takes a year, two years, or even if we find ourselves in a fifty year war (g-d forbid) this is the only solution that we currently face. How can you try to negotiate with those who will not put the guns down, and who shield their guns with human lives? It is easy to criticise Israel based on body count alone. Of course we are going to kill more of their people, than they ours! Firstly we have one of the strongest armies in the world, where their arsenal may be fierce, but no way near as accurate. Secondly Israel prefers to build bomb shelters in their homes to protect their people, rather than the Hezbollah who build bombs in their homes, among their wives and children, to protect their PR later down the line when their wives and children are “mercilessly slaughtered by the evil Israeli army”. I have heard it all and I am wondering when the world will finally realise that we have all heard enough!

What are you going to do now?

On Shabbat, I walked around Tel Aviv, and you could not help but notice the traditional background noise of traffic, and cell-phones, had been replaced with the dull thudding of the helicopters and fighter planes flying overhead… due North.

As I sat eating my lunch the news broke that a rocket had landed in Tiberius. There is no doubt that they have the capabilities of hitting central Israel. Reports come in that out of the 12,000 or more rockets that Hezbollah have, at least 30 have the capabilities of hitting Ber Sheva, never mind my little Tel Aviv. Nooman and I sat while waiting for the news to be updated and posed question upon question to each other…

So what do we do when the bombs land in Tel Aviv?

Do we still go to work?

Where is the nearest bomb shelter?

Should we be getting gas masks?

What happen if it never stops?

What would you take with you to the bomb shelter?

If your parents made you, would you go back to England?

Are we crazy?

When I moved to Israel I knew the situation was a volatile one to say the least, and whatever quiet existed at the time of my aliyah was only a temporary peace in the storm that surrounds Israel. I try and imagine the worst possible situation where I would have to leave Israel, and the only way I see myself leaving is if I was physically put on a plane out of here… and to be honest, I think they would rather push us into the sea than see us fly out of here on EL AL jets.

Am I crazy? Maybe I am, but the things that worry me most about the current situation are not the bombs falling on Haifa, Naharia, Tiberius and who knows where… perhaps I am a little numb to it. My main concern is the friends I have made who are likely to be called up to the army. I worry for them, even though most of them respond to my “have you been called up yet?” with a strong “Channah I am an Israeli… it is what we do.” I have such admiration for these young men, while at the same time I have an urge to grab them by their shirt collars and drag them to England, to ‘safety’. But this is truly ridiculous, because my biggest fear in this whole situation is the very same thing being done to me!

I heard that Jews in England were gathering in Synagogues and saying prayers for the State of Israel. I appreciate these prayers, and thank all those who have prayed and do pray for our welfare, but with respect, given the choice between sitting in a shul in England, and a bomb shelter in Tel Aviv, I would rather be sat with my brothers and sisters in a bomb shelter in Israel… I just need to decide what I am going to take with me…

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

27 Years… of what?

No! No! No! It’s my birthday! I am not going to be morbid!! On the contrary I am very grateful, because the way I see it 27 is just a number. I am 27 years older. I am 27 years wiser. I am 27 years more confused, while at the same time being 27 years more confident of myself. I have spent 27 years with some of the greatest people on this planet, and spent 27 years trying to avoid the biggest losers on this planet… and although I have come into contact with both, I am now 27 times more likely to be able to tell the difference between the two on sight!

Plus in my positive mood, I know that it could be a hell of a lot worse! I mean if I were a dog I would be 189 years old, if I were a cat I would be 173 years old, and if I were a cow I would be 135 years old. This would ultimately make me either an old bitch, an aging pussy or a just a washed out old cow, or more likely… dead!

Elana: So lets talk about the fact you are 27
Me: Why?
Elana: Well you ain’t no spring chicken
Me: Thanks!

(I could not find the age of a chicken… I don’t think they live that long!)

So no downers on turning 27 and being another step closer to 30… it is just another number, and it is all good with me!

Workmate: How old are you now?
Me: 27
Workmate: Really???
Me: Ha ha ha.. what you trying to say?
Workmate: You are a baby!!!

Thank you to all of you who sent me birthday wishes this morning… you’re beautiful… and mostly older than me ;)

nb: Cow age provided by the "Bovine Detective" - thank you!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A cup full of guilt - drinking talk

After promising to give my body and my liver a well deserved rest from late nights and alcohol, I was lured into having drinks with my loveable and totally crazy Canadian friend Elana.

“My boyfriend will kill me if I get home drunk…. Channah have another vodka red-bull...”

So as Elana ensured that my glass was always on the half full side, we talked openly about our lives. Are we really happy? Has Aliyah provided the satisfaction we thought would come from this move? What are our passions and are we achieving them? As strong women are we achieving our potential or are we being wasted in a country that has not quite learnt to appreciate its young, strong women trying to clamor their way up the ranks? In a society dominated by the men who served together side by side in the army, how does the young female Olah Chadasha get her foot in the door? That is without lowering her morals to sleep her way up the ranks to get to her goal?

I see many of my friends letting the "have I made the biggest mistake of my life moving to Israel" thoughts go round and round in their heads. Part of this is due to not feeling satisfied in the work they managed to find here, but also due to a lack of the family stability and support they were used to in their home countries. I remember the same thoughts going round in my head every time things got tough for me back in England with my parents living in Israel. For almost eight years I lived away from my family, away from the stability only a family, that might make you go out of this world crazy, can provide. The big difference I guess was I was living in England and it was my family who were living in Israel… it was me who went into a panic every time I read about a bombing in the news. Part of the issue for many friends I know is that they feel the guilt of leaving their parents in their homes watching the news, wondering if their sons/ daughters are safe in this beautiful country that the rest of the world views as a “war zone”. Guilt is the Jewish condition we must live with… or maybe it is a Polish thing.

Elana: I’m Polish!
Me: You’re Canadian… but we wuv yooooooooooooou anyway!
Elana: Naaaaaaaaaaa my woots! I mean roots! Hiccup!

Maybe we should root canal it… once they take out the root the pain is gone… maybe it will take the guilt too!

After a bottle of red label Smirnoff and four cans of red bull, we still had not reached our conclusion. Nooman came home from a hard day at work, where as usual he got fooked into staying late, to find his roommate and friend babbling incoherent sentences about men, Israel, work, and “…that alcohol really does solve all your problems. Whoever said drinking doesn't help lied…" (Jewel)

Elana: Do you think that I will stay in Israel?
Me: Well you have the Chutzpa of an Israeli
Elana: Really?
Me: Hunny do you think in Canada you would be able to shout out at the top of your lungs on a crowded bus “I LOVE ENGLISH! ISN’T ENGLISH GREAT!”
Elana: Ha ha true! Ha ha ha – hichup!

“Whoever said drinking doesn't help lied. You live and you learn."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thoughts of a very drunk, very bad, ex-BA girl!

Ok ok ok! I know I haven’t written in a week, but I have been a very busy girl! I swear! I am not neglecting you, or my writing, which seems to have deteriorated in the last week… damn writer’s block! The truth is that what with root canal part 2, the many family dinners and stay-overs in honour of our birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and the entire Anglo Jewry descending upon this small dot of a holy land, this little miss graham has barely had the time to watch the new series of the Amazing Race! Although I did manage to skive off yesterday afternoon so I could watch it before going to see more English visitors and see the football.

Seriously people I am exhausted!

Even more shocking to those who know me... I also managed to stay in Jerusalem for 3 and a half days… Wednesday night until Saturday night! Ok so I did drive to Ra’anana on Friday morning to have lunch with the parentals and my little sisters, but in essence I spent a long weekend in Jerusalem and survived! I’m not sure if there is any connection to the fact that from Wednesday night to Saturday afternoon I was under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol, but nevertheless I see it as an achievement… even though my liver has other thoughts at the moment.

It was actually a most pleasurable stay in Jtown…

Nine years ago, I had the misfortune of going on my year out in Israel with Bnei Akiva, however I at the same time had the very great fortune of spending that year with 14 wonderful women (they were just 18 year old girls back then)… ok and one or two of the boys were ok too :).

During this year we bonded as only 14 girls; thrown into a hovel in the Old City of Jerusalem with only Aish boys for amusement, sent to do hard labour on a kibbutz because the 6 boys we were sent with were too weedy to do it(Ok Bogen was the king of the fish!), and then chucked off the programme for having “an orgy” in our apartment in Jerusalem, will do! In terms of the lifelong friends we made that year, we had the best year of our lives.

This weekend one of the girls got married at the David Citadel Hotel, looking out onto our old home of the Old City, and out of the 14 original girls in our group, 10 came to the wedding in Israel. It was amazing to see so many of us together again, and over the weekend it was wonderful to reminisce with them over the good and bad times we had all shared together. We walked to the Kotel and I couldn’t help but feel the déjà vu of walking with the same people to pray in the same place so many times before. To be honest the whole weekend was a little overwhelming for this little emotional wreck, and from time to time I had to take myself outside for a little reality check. This was especially so at the wedding where the hall was filled with people from all over the UK. During the meal I took a breath outside and turned to my friend Hugh to say that I had to pinch myself to remember that I had not gone back to England, but that we were still in Israel! But thankfully the next night in a different hotel, at another party for the same wedding, I found myself pouring out Hebrew to the barman… it just came naturally… I was still home! I was still in Israel!

As we all stood on chairs and sang our lungs sore, I looked at the girls who had now grown into successful women, wives, mothers, and I was overcome with the urge to shout, “Come join us here!”, but it is not for everyone, and for sure, their London lives are very attractive in some ways. But it is a life I left behind two years ago, and although I am sure that I will go back to England from time to time, perhaps even to work there for a period, it will never be my home in the same way that Israel is. I guess I never directly correlated my increase in age with the increase in age of England… I have no idea, nor do I care how old England is. But Israel, well she is only 32 (31 on Wednesday) years older than me, and with every year the age gap narrows and I see my growth in her, and I see how I am changing because of her. June 27th 2004, I made Aliyah, and now two years on as I am about to turn 27, I can safely say that I would not want to be anywhere else!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday Mornings Suck!

Football Sucks

Everyone around me is talking about the events of yesterday. Once again England went into the World Cup talking a fantastic victory, but ultimately playing a weak game of defence and let’s just try lobbing the ball to Rooney and see if that gets us a goal. I admit that I know very little about football… I know the offside rule (something that impresses the mailroom boys) but I don’t really understand it, and to be honest I don’t really want to. I love to watch the odd football match, but I like to retain a little distance from the world’s most loved sport… yeah swallow it USA, the world’s most loved sport is FOOTBALL and NOT American Football (we don’t call it Soccer around here!). Maybe I do it because I realize that when I do get into a game I stop being a lady and I become a regular English football thug, hurling obscenities at the players and the ref.

In previous years I have reserved these obscenities for the players of the opposing team, but in this World Cup my shouts of dismay and “come on run you f*@king lazy mother @$*%ers” were only for the my home team… the losers we love to refer to as England. In the preliminary rounds I quietly hoped that playing like losers was one of Sven’s legendary tactics to put the other ‘better’ teams off their guard and that by the Semi’s we would be pulling out the guns and kicking some serious ass… preferably the French. But time and time again I was disappointed. England played like a bunch of old, tired, losers, and it pains my heart to say it out-loud, but sadly it is true. I totally felt the pain of the overly excited 18 year olds who were on their year out in Israel, and had found their way into our bar to watch their home team win… and ended up walking away silently to a losers march.

GB: You guys didn’t deserve to go forward. You stunk the whole way
Me: Gee thanks… and here was I thinking you were going to make me feel better…

After our loss the girls decided to go get some food to soak up the alcohol and go back to the normality of talking about our jobs, our love lives, and our bowel movements. On the way, while singing along to the JSAP’s collection of car tunes including the Pussy Cat Dolls… “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me…” we drove passed an American work friend and I made the JSAP stop the car… “England sucked ass!!!”… ok driver, drive on.

Men Suck

My Thursday nights have become the highlight of my week. Being a girl that always preferred to hang out with the boys, I have developed over the last few months a real appreciation for hanging out with the girls and behaving scandalously as only girls know how. A few of the girls had made a pact that they were going to either add a new kiss to their snog list, or were just going to scout for men. I apparently had to choose my option before we reached the bar. I politely declined.

I guess the urge to meet someone has passed me by. Maybe it is all the frogs and losers that I have already kissed over the last year or two, but I think that the bar hop and snog routine always ends in disaster, disappointment, and a disgraceful hangover. Then there are the dates, which I find to be as much fun as attending an interview with a vampire. You have to sit through all the questions and coffee and then you are never sure if he is going to try and suck your face off or not. I have talked about the dating thing before… so you should be of full understanding of my lack of joy over dating. I generally prefer to do the friend thing and see how it develops from there. But, every now and then I will make an exception, and let a guy take me out for a coffee. Problem is when you think you just are not sure if it is two friends having coffee or a date. And worse when after the second time you hang out you realise that you actually wish it had been a date and ended appropriately, as opposed to you walking home and doing the “what was that?” and “what are we?” , thing.

My father sometimes tells me that I am a boy in the body of a woman. My brother used to tell me I was so cool because hanging out with me was like hanging out with one of the guys. My brother’s friends said that they liked me because if they lost my brother they had a spare… I am mini bro. My guy friends and their friends on first impression all stated that I was “a really cool girl… chilled and easy to hang out with.” During university my girlfriends would laugh with somewhat admiration at how I managed to become best friends with the most sought after and eligible guys. So I guess if the label fits I should wear it.

JSAP: Dude he clearly likes you as a person.
Me: I don’t need or want another guy friend… I am forever ‘a guy’s best friend’
JSAP: Ha ha ha Man’s best friend
Me: Does that make me a dog?

Plus I am not sure that I am happy having Atheist Singles website advertising on my blog…