Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No Phish were harmed...

Every time I walk passed the freezer section in my supermarket, or any mini market, in fact anywhere that bares the Ben & Jerry's logo, I search for the flavour to end all flavours... the King of all that is heavenly in ice-cream form... Phish Food!

For those of you out there who led a deprived childhood, or just did not experience life during their university years, you might be led to believe that Phish Food actually contains Fish… and if you did, you would be stupid, but tragically not alone… Yes I have met many people who have believed the same, and I put it to you, who other than a severely hormonal and pregnant woman would even consider feeding a craving for fish and ice-cream in such a vile combination? Certainly not Ben and Jerry… no no no! I mean just take a look at the two men below… you think they would ever invent an ice-cream with fish in it? Look carefully…

These sweet men are Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield… does that not smell distinctly Haimischi to you? So surely if there was fish in the ice-cream they would not have spelt it “Phish”, but would have called it Geffilta or maybe even Lox (Hmmmmm I think I have an idea for “Lox on the Rocks”). Plus take a good look at these men, and despite the knowledge that they are successful business men, Jewish business men, they also look like the kinda guys who in their day used to enjoy a puff or two… which I suspect is where they came up with the idea for the flavour “Phish Food”. Ben and Jerry were at a PHISH concert, getting high, and decided that they needed the mother of all munchies to satisfy their craving… off they went throwing together chocolate ice-cream, gooey marshmallow, caramel, and fudge (which they in their stoned state decided to make into the shape of a fish just for a laugh) and so created the greatest ice-cream ever made… Phish Food!

Yeah those of you who did not know Phish was a jam band and thought it was me just spelling Fish funny are feeling pretty stupid right about now...

Anyway, since the day of its creation, Students have huddled together late at night after long smoking sessions, or during a movie, or even in between class to eat this wonder placed on our earth… I still remember the first time I experienced the heavenly fusion of gooey marshmallow and smooth caramel sliding down my throat on a wave of chocolate… There is nothing in the world that tastes or feels as good! Not that I eat ice-cream very often, but when I do, I know what I want, Chunky Monkey, Dulce de Leche and the rest just do not cut it for me! I want my Phish Food!!

So yesterday I decided to quit it with the passive aggressive, staring longingly at the Ben & Jerry’s freezer section, and start taking action. I wrote a letter to Ben & Jerry’s in Israel:

From: Channah Graham [mailto:littlemissgraham@hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 3:01pm
To: Inbal office@benjerry.co.il
Importance: High

Dear Ben and Jerry of Israel,
I have searched everywhere in Israel for the flavor Phish Food... I cannot understand why we don't already have the flavor available in Israel... most of the Phish band are Jewish afterall!
Please can you help fullfil a wish and bring Phish Food to the Holy Land...
thank you


Much to my suprise, I arrived in to work today to find Inbal HaRosh from Ben & Jerry's Israel had responded...

From:?? ????? office@benjerry.co.il
To: 'Channah Graham' littlemissgraham@hotmail.com
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 16:29:47 +0200

hi there,
fish food were in israel a few years back but on a stick
and then they stop making it
may be it will be here again in the future
have a nice day
inbal harosh

Well that explains it! I mean Phish Food was never meant to be on a stick! Plus there is a glimmer of hope, that maybe one day in the future they will bring it back again, only this time in tub form. All in all I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.
But not pleased enough to just sit back an rest on my laurels!

So I am writing this blog, in the hope that I may have turned your taste buds on enough that you will stand with me and appeal to the Ben and Jerry of Israel to bring our most favourite flavour to Israel! It doesn’t matter if you have never tried this flavour before… just read back through this blog, and imagine… It doesn’t matter if you do not live in Israel… we appreciate support wherever it may come from. Please cut and paste the following text to
office@benjerry.co.il (Please CC me as well littlemissgraham@hotmail.com… I want to keep track of this) and join the Bring Phish Food to the Holy Land Campaign:

Dear Ben and Jerry of Israel,

We have one wish, one hope, and one dream and that is to bring Phish Food to the Holy Land.

Please join your fellow Israeli’s and help bring Phish Food back to the Jewish Homeland where it belongs. Not in a stick and not in fat free or yoghurt variety, but as pure and as wonderful as the day it was created in a big tub!

We are sending this petition to you in the hope that by NEXT YEAR WE WILL HAVE PHISH FOOD!

Thank you

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Shitface Shrop

The natural ups and downs of life are far more extreme here in Israel. Where my highs and lows were subtle gradients in my path in England, here in Israel I sometimes feel like I am riding the waves in Taiarapu, Tahiti. Just when I think that I have found my feet along comes a bomb of a wave to knock me off my feet and wipe out. Thank goodness I have always been a strong swimmer if not a natural surfer.

A friend just made Aliyah and asked me what had made my Aliyah so successful. If I am totally honest with myself I cannot say that my Aliyah has been 100% successful, it's a pretty ridiculous expectation, I think I might give it a 75% success rate. For everything that I gained, I also sacrificed. In truth there are very few of my friends who living in this country have it all, just as in the same way there are very few of my friends in the UK or in the States that have it all… but as long as you have your priorities straight and have the most important things to you, then life is never that bad. My priority when I made Aliyah was getting my spirit back… the spirit of Channah Boo which had been lost under the name of “Hannah” in a land where they could not pronounce the ‘CH” without hacking up.

I felt living in England with the 9am-5pm job, which was more 7.30am – 8pm, I never had the time or energy to spend time with those closest to me, my friends and my family. Here in Israel I am home by 5pm and have the entire evening at my disposal to hang with those that give me the most joy and release from the monotony of the day. I realise fully how lucky I am to have the friends I have, and feel even more privileged when my Olah Chaddashah friend turns to me on Thursday night and says, “You have the nicest friends.” What else can I say but, “I know!… they can be yours too if you like!”

Looking through my little black book of friends dotted around the communities of new Olim in the Anglo suburbs of Israel I can see those who have found their Aliyah experiences the easiest and those who have found it a struggle, and for the most part, it has been the ease with which they have fitted into or found their new social circles that has aided them. I turn back to my Olah Chaddashah friend and say, “Now is the time to let go of the friends you had back in England, they will always be there, and you’ll never replace them, but if you want to get on, you gotta get on with those around you… make the effort, and most importantly never be afraid to make yourself known to a group you want to get into… The beauty about Olim is that we rarely turn each other away.” And true to form, within minutes I see her chatting among the group as if she had been there forever.

In the bar, among a sea of strangers, I saw the good friends I have as the lights floating at the top of the water ensuring that in the darkness I don’t become too disorientated and drown. They are there; I trust in them, I know that if I need them they will be there in the same way that if they need me I will always be there. Yet they too give me the space to swim in my own direction, try and catch that killer wave, and laugh with me when I fall flat on my face with a mouthful of sand.

Not to give the impression that it has all been so easy for me… it has not been smooth sailing. I guess it has taken me some time to find a circle of friends who I totally trust and also want to get drunk with on a Thursday night. When faced with my own personal dramas they don’t force their opinions upon me, although they do offer words of wisdom and advice. And when I want to be left alone, they understand and give me space… I don’t feel I need to explain myself… they respect the choices I make, the person I am, and I am free to make my own mistakes. They understand that despite all the manuals that may say otherwise, life is about taking a risk, leaping off the boat and plunging in feet first. Ok so I might drown, so he might push me under, but we might have a lot of fun along the way… what is the point of travelling the road of life if you cannot enjoy the ride!

Me: I guess there is no wrong or right, just the decision I have made and trust in.
Friend 1: Just so that you know that either way we will be there.

And the best bit… the best bits are when you find a friend who; without a word will eat the ice-cream for you, because she just knows you never bought it for yourself; shows up at your apartment with a bottle of vodka and four cans of red bull just because you seemed a little quiet today; will never let you buy jeans that do nothing for that sexy ass of yours; buys you a little present on her way over, just because she thought it might make you smile; is more than happy to walk my friends home, because he is just that kinda guy; knows the right moment to cuddle, because there is nothing more to be said; has a fancy dress costume ready at any given moment so we can stop taking ourselves so seriously and just laugh; lets me call her dog “Shitface”, just because I like saying the word…

Oh and the other best bit is when you can drunk text someone and the next morning they think it is adorable!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

When it Rains it Pours

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am currently dealing with the issue of to blog or not to blog… the eternal question of to write down an honest and open appraisal of my life leaving no holes barred, or to sugar coat the truth, conceal names to protect the innocent and myself… I still cannot decide. The fact is that when I started this blog it was more of an easy way for friends to see how I was getting on, for me to be able to let out my creative juices in a healthy way, and for me to keep physical evidence of my loopy psyche for posterity. However, I did not at the time consider who might in the future be reading what I wrote, I did not bare in mind how my family would react to my honest writings, and I certainly did not expect to find it so hard to be open… perhaps this is a little revealing about how I approach the truth in the normal world and not just the blog world.

In recent weeks I have realised that Little Miss Graham is split in two… that is not to say that I have multiple personalities, although I do think that would be a fun experience for a day. There is the Channah who is open and honest, to the point of being blunt. She knows what she wants and goes for it with no fear, no inhibitions, just total confidence in who she is and an arrogance in the fact that all who meet her will love her! Then there is the Channah who is shy and retiring, who longs for an easy life, who likes to follow instruction rather than innovate her own path, who will not make the first move, who will wait and react rather than take action. In the same way, there is the Channah who wants to say to hell with it and write every intimate detail of my personal life, and then the voice of the second Channah pipes up;

“No need to put all your cards on the table… hold back a little of yourself, your personal life is just that… leave the good stuff for only privileged individuals… What if the wrong person reads it? What if the right person reads it the wrong way? What would your family think about that?”

And so I am torn between my Channahs…

Therefore, at the risk of upsetting one Channah I fall short in being as open as I would like to be with you, and you must excuse me of this, but know that reading between the lines can be a help and a hindrance depending on how you read.

This weekend, I was once again in Jerusalem. Some may say this is becoming a habit, something I will never admit to, as I refuse to believe that Jerusalem has finally got her claws into me, but for now I am enjoying the cool breeze that will not reach as far as my apartment in Tel Aviv, and the view of the hills that I seem never to tire of. Away from the girls I found myself in the company of strangers and felt relaxed and at home, once again being in a new and different situation is bringing the best out me, and I am enjoying seeing people’s reaction to the real me. The Channah who knows what she wants and gets it is in her element and is not afraid to show how she feels, at the risk of hurting or shocking anyone else… and yet he is lying there telling me that he doesn’t want to hurt me, that he cares, that there is a connection, that I am special… but ultimately that there is a risk that he will hurt me. Which Channah should take over now? Do I continue down the road of openness at the risk of being hurt, or do I close myself off at the risk that he will never see the real me. There is a grey cloud in our perfect blue sky… I was a fool to think that the blue skies would rule forever… I guess it was an unrealistic expectation. Nevertheless what am I supposed to do? Do I wait or do I take action… risk something great for the sake of my pride, or just accept that in the end everyone gets hurt… and wait…

And as usual all the other weasels pick now to come out of the woodwork… when it rains it pours, and yet I am not really sure where we are, would I hurt him if I was with someone else? Would I be hurt if he was with someone else? It is too early to tell, too early to really differentiate between the feeling of wanting to be with someone, and lust. So when another guy calls me and asks me out, what do I say? What do I want to say? In truth I just want to hide myself in the nook of his arm and fall asleep… I want to close my eyes and take it all one step, one day at a time and enjoy every minute of the good, the bad and the indifferent. Am I getting freaked out? Yes, but isn’t that what life is all about? People jump on the rollercoaster everyday in the hope of being freaked out, and although I have always avoided this scare… I am giving it a go, because ultimately you never know… this rollercoaster might also be fun… and not just make me puke.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blog Block

Today I woke up struggling. My body was in a full on battle with my will as to whether to get up and face the day or to retreat to bed and call in sick. It would have actually been a really good idea had I not taken so many days off work last week to let my ankle recover. So in the end my will took control of my body, got it out of bed, dressed and into my car to work, and here I am wondering why I didn’t just smother my will with a pillow and go back to sleep!

Ultimately I know I have to just suck it up. I did this to myself. No-one made me drink 3 glasses of wine on an empty stomach. Nooman didn’t force me to stay up till come stupid hour talking and catching up as we haven’t seen each other in ages. I did this to myself and I am not about to wrap myself in cotton wool! I’m old enough to know better… suck it up Channah and get to work!

Only problem is that I cannot concentrate. So much is happening at the moment and I am feeling like all my magic beans came at once while others around me are starving… how can a girl feast on that? My wishing bridge wishes seem to be dispersing themselves very nicely among the group, which makes me smile while at the same time kinda disappointed for them… bridge is that the best you can do? Or maybe I spread the wish too thin. Sorry girls I tried!

This weekend was the most fun I have had in Jerusalem in a long time. The girls all came together for what might be one of the last weekends in Israel’s capital, as one by one they begin the move to Israel’s metropolis… Tel Aviv. Ironic, just as I began to form an attachment with the city of gold. We drank wine on the balcony, read glossy magazines and talked about all that girls talk about while applying nail varnish. We keep giving ourselves these little pleasures as we settle into the nine to five life, it is our friendships which are the vehicles by which we release the stresses of never saving a penny, of rent prices rising, while our pay checks seem to stand still.

Shabbat afternoon I left the girls to their afternoon sleeps and learning and I lay back in his arms and let it all drift away… nothing matters, all the good will come in time, I never believed it before, but I now see that it is the things you cannot control that fulfil us the most. I refuse to be melancholy; I refuse to think too much about what is going on, in my personal life and the situation in Israel. While my ankle is still giving me grief I am gonna laugh my ass off instead of dance… I do not care if people think I should change my lifestyle because I come into work looking like I have been kicked around by a kangaroo in my sleep… I am happy with where I am and where I am heading and I guess nothing else really matters. I am just going to have to get over the fact that people read this blog and if I want to say something then I should just say it and not worry that someone might read it and freak out… all in good time I guess.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

No I have not been in hiding, living in a bomb-shelter, or run back to England… although the idea of shopping in England appeals right about now! The reason for my silence is due to an incident that happened on Friday morning… and before I begin there was no alcohol involved!

So the story begins the night before, when I spent much of the evening baking a big yummy chocolate cake for a certain Ginrod’s birthday brunch the next day. After letting the thick chocolate icing set in the refrigerator, I spent the moments before sleep piping on white lettering wishing her a Happy Birthday! Ok so it was not perfect, but as I am no professional, I think I did a damn good job anyway. And in any event, in the case of chocolate cakes it is definitely what’s inside that counts!

On Friday morning I awoke unusually early for me on a weekend, as I had promised to get to her apartment early to help set up, I showered, tried to get my hair under control, got dressed, and set out with the cake under wraps. As Ginrod’s place is only a 10 minute stroll from my place I decided that I would walk, even though I was nervous about dropping the cake… I admit I have my clumsy moments!

So I am reaching the half way point and notice the manager of the charity housing on my street was washing down the pavement, paying little attention to myself and my cake, and spraying my trousers in the process. So to save the rest of my clothing I decided to hop onto the road. As I came up to the pedestrian crossing I saw that the water was flowing in the direction I was walking and was now no longer on the pavement, but had created a river down the street I had to cross over to get to the other side…

The traffic lights turn red, the green man flashes up, and I step out onto the road… one step… two steps… my left croc slides over the water… I try to regain balance by putting my left knee forward and the result is my left knee crashing to the ground… my right foot twisting underneath my body… The cake slides down my left arm, and I reach out to grab the plate it is on with my left and right hands. Success!!! The cake did not fall to the ground! But as I have no hands to balance myself, I am using the big toe on my left foot to avoid falling flat on my face, or face in cake…

It felt like an eternity of playing status in the middle of Frishman Street, people walking past me as if I wasn’t there. Eventually I got up, and hobbled to the other side of the road… my knee throbbing, but the good news was the CAKE SURVIVED!! (Woo Hoo!! Rockstar Applause!!!)

The bad news was that my right foot didn’t, and after arriving at the party and covering up my pain with lots of alcohol, I was carried home only to find that getting to the loo required a lot of upper body muscles and a great deal of sliding around the floor on my bottom. So in short, for the last few days I have been following doctors orders and keeping my leg elevated so that I can walk like a normal human being in time for Thursday night… Doctor has also said no drunkenly disorderly behaviour that might lead to dancing and damaging my ankle further… A quote pops into my mind…

“Dancing and sports are just a vertical expression of a horizontal desire…”

Anyway, I got back to work today, to be approached by a work colleague who I barely know; who I actually discovered is related to me by marriage, who apparently had a dream about me over the weekend! She said that she had a Cinderella meets Joseph type dream about me, at a party, in a magical, multicoloured (Joseph), very thinning (I think that was the magical part of it) dress that my mother had made. She said that as I walked into the party she told me how beautiful I looked, and I graciously thanked her and told her it was because of my magical dress my mother made for me.

She then told me that as I walked into the party, everyone turned to stare in awe (that is the Cinderella part)… I have no idea what the dream means, but I kinda like it! My work colleague is now my best friend, and finding out from her mother, who is gifted in dream deciphering, what it could mean… any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hot Head

I have been described as many things in my life, “hot-tempered”, “hot-blooded”, “hot under the collar”, “one hot mamma!”… I find that despite the fact that as a Yorkshire lass I come from one of the coldest parts of England, I had the heat inside me to keep me warm… perhaps this is why you will find the centre of Leeds filled with near naked women. The difference with me though is while everyone else seems to get their bits warmed by their inner heat, the only bit of me that seems to benefit from my own central heating is my head! Yes, yes I am also VERY hot headed!

Now living in England and being hot-headed was a good thing… the cold air would act as a counterbalance for the heat I was exuding from my temples, and ensure that my hair stayed as straight as could be. Ok, so no I may not get a manicure and a pedicure every week, I may not wear make-up every time I step out of the house, and my clothes may not be ironed perfectly, but my hair… well my father once said after I cut my hair into a crew-cut that “your hair is your crown and glory… treat it well.” Now I may have mentioned this before, but my father has a full head of pitch black hair (never been dyed) and is 60 years old, so when he gives me hair advice I listen! So it there is one thing I try to make an effort with it is my crown and glory, however, what with the heat from the sun beating down and the heat from inside me searing out, my crown and glory does not stand a chance.

Seriously, this heat is really getting to my hair! Unlike people with thick Israeli hair who can flatten down their frizz with a heavy dose of serum, my hair suffers the opposite problem, and I find that no sooner have I washed and blow dried my hair straight than my hair looks greasy again! Or if I make it straight it decides to curl itself without my consent. So at some point you may see Channahboo walking down the street, appearing as if she is shouting at herself, or at an imaginary gay man, when in reality she is shouting at her damn hair! “Damn it! Stay straight you bastard!!!”

At some point in every evening I give up, be it that Eli tells me that my natural curl suits me better than having it straight anyway, or be it that I just cannot stand thinking about it anymore… if I want to I am very good at blocking things out… I think it comes from my mothers amazing selective hearing. Which when I come to think about it is where I got my ‘natural curls’ from too! Just to paint a little picture for you… my natural curls basically look like bed head… that is if I had spent the night sleeping in a barn with a pig for company! Or as one Irish man once said to me “Jewish Curls”…

So I am getting all hot and bothered, firstly because it is July and damn hot, secondly because a call from a guy kinda caught me off guard, and thirdly because my hair is just not staying straight and the more stressed I am getting about it, the more hot I become and the more distressed my tresses look!

DV: Hun if you stopped trying so hard to make it perfect you might actually realize that it is NICE!
Me: I know you are right I should just go with the flow…
DV: What you on about! I was talking about your hair!
Me: Oh… and here was I thinking that you had made a really profound statement about how I approach men… ok… erm…Shit my hair won’t stay straight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But she did have a point… a point that I am going to try and take with me in ever aspect of my life… the point that I learnt years ago from a wise friend (or could that be a stoned friend) at university, that there are things you just cannot control in your life (my hair being one of them), and perhaps if you stopped and actually enjoyed them for what they are you might see that although they are not perfect, not what you had been wishing for, they are in fact really nice…