Lots of legs

Q. What do you call a black centipede type thing almost a foot long with about 300 legs?
A. An African Giant Black Millipede Rivka and Shira were sitting in the living room tonight while I was in my office when they called me to join them. Rivka had spotted this long millipede in the corner of the living room. I had to get it out of the house. I got two plastic bags and used one to try to push it into the other. It curled up in a ball and pooped all over the floor (apparently it wasn't really poop but it was just secreting a defensive liquid from its exoskeleton). I got it into the bag and brought it outside to the dumpster. I didn't realize this at the time but they are the "perfect pet arthropod". Too bad our lease says no pets allowed.

The Shuk in Ramle

First of all I need to clarify that the shuk was in Ramle NOT Ramallah. It's a city pretty close to Modiin with a mix of Jews and Arabs. I went with my neighbor Esti and I drove. When we reached our destination we started looking for parking but it was jammed packed. It was bumper to bumper in the parking lots. There was one car in front of me and I noticed some people coming to their car. The car in front of me was still scanning around for a spot but was passed this spot. She decided though that she had the right to this parking spot and not me. BUT I wouldn't let her have it. She was motioning me to back up so she could get it and I just refused. She even sent her passenger out to stand by the spot. Then it came time for the person in the spot to drive her car out. Well there was nowhere for her to go. The lady in front of me refused to move forward and I had a car behind me so I couldn't really go anywhere. Everyone started yelling at each other, it was really quite humorous. Finally after much maneuvering, the lady in front moved forward, I moved over to the side and the lady got out of her spot. I decided that it wasn't worth the fight anymore so I just backed up out of the parking lot and parked illegally. After all, I have Cypress license plates and don't get ticketed or towed.

(The Shuk was not too impressive but I managed to get some shekel items for the kids. )

Little League in Modiin

Life is becoming more routine so I haven't had much to post about lately. Also, my computer is broken so I've been using Shira's so she hasn't had much time to blog. She's off to the shuk in Ramle and all the kids are at school/gan so I have some quiet time to myself. There are a few more general things that I've wanted to put in here so here is one of them ...

I'm a coach in Little League this year and it's been pretty good so far. The good thing about Little League here compared to Baltimore is that it lasts for 9 months or so instead of 3. The bad thing is that it's only once a week and not 3. It's also very different in that we practice for the first half of the year and then play games the second half. So far we've only had practices every Friday and then we have a month vacation and then we start the real season. Zvi is on a "team" with about 35 8-10 year olds. We have six coaches and we've been doing various drills with them for 90 minutes every Friday. The kids seem to enjoy it and they're actually improving also. We will break the kids into three teams for the real season but for now we've been practicing with everyone together. It won't be easy to break the kids into teams because it's hard to tell without games who are the best players but we'll have some idea. Then during the season we play games against Gezer, Beit Shemesh, Chashmonaim and maybe another city or two.

We have an exhibition game next Friday in what is called the Chanuka Tournament. It's actually just two games against other teams and for that we'll probably be only one or two teams representing Modiin since many kids won't play. It will be fun to play our first game. The teams won't be the final teams for the regular season and won't "count." You can look forward to a post by Zvi or me about how the games go.

Also, this week they started eight weeks of bonus practices with two special coaches, including a Modiin Miracle player/coach, (I'm off the hook for these) on Tuesday afternoons. The practices start at 2:30 and Zvi only finishes school at 3:15 but we told Zvi that we can pick him up early from school and bring him to baseball every Tuesday as long as it lasts if he's good. He went yesterday and had a good time.

Meeting with the school psychologist

Today we met with the school psychologist for Leora's gan to see how she is progressing. Basically, she is not progressing but rather regressing. This past week was absolutely impossible. Leora started some new tricks. She now climbs fences, jumps out windows, pinches and punches. Yay, we are really proud of her new talents. But seriously, the situation is out of control.

The conclusion that we have come to is that we need to find Leora a gan that is a better fit to her needs. She is acting out because of anxieties and fears and it is only escalating. We are not going to tell her anything (so if you're reading this and you see Leora, please keep it quiet) but she will most likely be switching ganim after Chanuka break. Hopefully a new start with teachers that speak English is the answer. Wish us luck!

Thanksgiving weekend

I was off from work on Thursday thanks to the American holiday so we decided that we should do something with the kids. We planned on picking them up early and going to Zichron Yaakov to do something with some of my sister's (Ethel) family and some of Shira's brother's (Danny) family. Wednesday night we heard that Rabbi Raphael Marcus was niftar and they were bringing the body to Eretz Yisrael. He had been the rabbi of Shira's shul since she was little (Shira's brother blogged about his first memory of him) and his oldest son was my chavrusa in YU and I had gotten to know him after I got engaged. We both wanted to go to the funeral which was at 1 PM in Yerushalayim on Thursday so my father watched Yeshaya in Yerushalayim while we went to the funeral.

We got home just before the bigger kids came home from school so we waited for them and then went to pick up Leora from gan. By the time we got to Ethel's house in Zichron it was about 5:30 and there wasn't much time to do anything. Some of them went out to get the pizza and a movie (Shrek 3) and to pick up Danny's daughter Ayala while the rest of us just hung out at the house. The kids all watched the movie while the adults chatted.
Ethel's oldest two sons have been off from school for about six weeks because of the teacher's strike here. It's a little ridiculous but that's life. The 12 year old, Eylon, was sufficiently bored that he was interested in coming with us for Shabbos even though there really wasn't anyone his age and Maya had been planning on coming the entire time. We didn't have room for both of them so the two of them and Rivka took the train back to Modiin on Friday.

We hung out at Ethel's house on Friday morning and then drove back to empty the bag from that trip and repack for Shabbos. We picked up the kids from the train and drove to Yerushalayim for Shabbos. We were having another mini-reunion at the Inbal hotel. My sister Amy and my cousins Marlene Brody and Stuart Katz were there with their families. We had a nice time with my grandmother and ate plenty of food. Four of us went to the kotel this morning for Shacharis and Shira went to the kotel for mincha with a bunch of the girls. Too bad that neither of us went with Stuart on Friday night because Jerry Seinfeld was there.

My Favorite Quotes

I was at the gym today trying to make the time go by faster by thinking about what to blog about next. I got to thinking about the funny things the kids have said to me recently and thought, VOILA, perfect blog material. So here goes.

Rivka "Mommy are you on a diet?" "Why do you ask Rivka?" "Because you are in the worst mood."

Zvi "You're not supposed to have that candy" "Why not Zvi?" "Because you're on a diet"

(Okay, so maybe I'm a little obsessed with diet and exercise but it's not really making a difference in how my clothes are fitting).

Leora "I'm so thirsty. I want some water. Why can't I have water? Do you want me to die????"

Yeshaya (to me as I'm driving) "Mommy be careful" (said to me twice in one trip)

My all time favorite Yeshaya to David "Abba, I love Mommy" Yeshaya to me five minutes later "Mommy I hate you".

Rivka and Zvi update

In Baltimore, we always got glowing reports from the teachers about Rivka and Zvi. They're both so smart and wonderful kids at school and the kids all like them, etc. This year, we weren't sure exactly what to expect when we went to meet the teachers for parent-teacher conferences. Were they behaving well in class even though they don't understand? Were they doing well in school? Did other kids like them? We thought that they were both doing really well in all those things but we weren't 100% positive.

Last week, we went to meet Zvi's teacher. First of all, we are really impressed with her. She has called us numerous times to tell us about things or to ask us questions and seems to really care about him. She told us that he's really smart and especially good at math. We knew that but it's good to see that he's able to show it here even though he doesn't know the language. He's progressing really nicely and he got 111 on his chumash test. He's also made friends in class and even talks a bit to the Israeli kids. The teacher talks Hebrew to him almost all the time and he understands most of what she says. She is really impressed with him and we are so proud of him.

Tonight we met Rivka's teacher. She loves Rivka. She told us that she's such
a good girl and that everyone in the class really likes her. She is doing really well in class and she couldn't believe how well she did on her chumash test (100% on a test on the entire Parshat Naso). She could tell that she wasn't just spitting back the information but she really understood it and is really smart. She's also doing very well in math and is understanding more and more of what everyone says. She has lots of friends and socializes a lot with the Israeli girls. Two girls from her class live right near us but they only speak Hebrew. That doesn't stop Rivka from getting together with them often. We're so proud of her.

So far, we're very happy with the school and we really like the teachers. The two of them have adjusted so well in the time they've been in school. I can't believe it's been less than three months. They're amazing!

Tests

I have already taken 12 tests this year and I have 2 more coming up. One in Navi and one in Torah. I also have a book report that I have to give in on Thursday. But the good thing is that today we have a play so the teacher pushed of the Torah test until Thursday. Also this test isn't as hard because we're allowed to use our notes.

Does it only happen in Israel???

I have been wanting to blog about these observations that I've made for quite some time but never really had the time to sit down and do it. Not that I really have the time now being that's it's 6:21 pm and I have to bathe the kids and get them to bed.

The other day David and I were comparing our observations of how the city of Modiin is simply wasting their money. There is a light by the intersection near our house. Every morning and evening during rush hour there is a man that sits out there switching the light from red to green. For a country that has the latest and greatest shabbat clocks, could they not figure out how to time the traffic lights? Another example of the waste of money is the new park near our house. The park is completely finished and all the kids from the neighborhood have been anxiously awaiting for the tarps around the equipment to come down. I guess people got inpatient and started removing the tarps and enjoyed themselves at the park. Every shabbos the same thing happens. The tarps come down, the kids play and the next day the workers go and put the tarps up again. The only stopping the official opening of the park is a signature. Pretty pathetic.

I went grocery shopping the other day with Chanina Rosenbaum and we could only laugh at our experience. I got into line, unloaded my shopping cart only to find that my cashier decided to take a break. When she returned five minutes later she had to have a conversation with someone before starting to check me out. Whatever happened to multitasking? With our shopping carts loaded (bagged and loaded by yours truly) we headed to the car. Imagine trying to push a three wheeled shopping cart that loves to veer to the left - that was me. Brand new shopping carts made to veer to the left????

BUT what we also see is a community that is ever so friendly and warm. The sense of unity and caring is unbelievable. To be a part of this is so rewarding for us on many levels. We (I hope I can speak for the family) are so fortunate to be able to have this wonderful experience here in Israel.

Trying something new with Leora

Leora's ganenet, Chani, has been meeting regularly with the psychologist from the city and with the head of gans or something like that to try to figure out how best to deal with Leora. They really haven't given her any great ideas. My impression is that she's pushing to try to get them to put someone extra in the class for some time each day to work with Leora. Last night the psychologist called to tell us about their latest and greatest idea. Leora always eats very well in gan so they felt that if I brought Leora (Chani had previously told us that it's better when I bring her because she screams a lot louder and longer when Shira leaves than when I do) with food it might help. Maybe if I left her with Chani while she was eating they'd develop some kind of relationship.

There are really two problems at the gan. One is the separation; Leora has a very hard time parting from us and she screams every day when we leave. I usually walk her to the gate and she stands there screaming as I pull away. Recently, she went in a couple times on her own after about 5 minutes. The other problem is that she doesn't pay any attention to the teachers. When anyone talks Hebrew to her she completely tunes them out and now even when Chani tries to talk to her in broken English she doesn't listen. So the idea was that this food trick might help with both.

So I went with Leora around 8:35 to gan. It officially starts at 8 but we usually go at that time because it's too hard for the guard to keep her locked in when too many parents are coming and going. We brought "Shabbos cereal" and milk for Leora to eat and Chani went into a back room with us. There are 35 kids in the gan and the teacher and her assistant. So for a half hour it was 34 kids just with the assistant. Leora refused to eat or to even look at Chani for the first 15 minutes. Chani drew a picture of her bowl with cereal and Leora wouldn't look at it. First I tried not saying anything but Leora kept clinging to me so finally I told her to count how many of each color were in the picture and she counted together with Chani. Then they made a crown together but Leora continued to glance back at me to make sure that I wasn't going anywhere. I kept inching away from her and she seemed OK with that. Finally at 9:05 Chani had to go out to the classroom. Leora realized that meant that I was going to leave so she started running out the door. I pulled her back in and tried to talk her into staying in gan but she refused. So she went outside with me screaming just like she'd done on every other day. I asked Chani if she wanted to try the same thing tomorrow. She said that she was off until Friday and we'll see what happens next. I don't think this was any great success but we have a meeting on Sunday with the psychologist and we'll see what she says.

Shabbos in Nof Ayalon

We went away for Shabbos for the first time in more than three months and we are planning on going away two of the next three Shabboses also. Both of my sisters have invited us a few times for Shabbos and this was the first time that it actually worked out so we went to Nof Ayalon to the Fredj's. There are some great things about going away like the fact that no preparation and cleanup is really needed. The downside is that you're not at home. It's nice to be at home in your own beds. The accommodations were good though and we all had a good time until ...

Shabbos afternoon when the men were at mincha, Amy and her daughters took my kids to the park. Her kids love taking care of Yeshaya and he warmed to them and let them hold him and play with him. That was a nice little break. Anyway, Leora started running or something (the entire Shabbos, she found it quite amusing that she was able to walk, run or even sit in the middle of the street) and she tripped and got a big bump and cut her head on the street. It was a very small cut but it was pretty deep and Amy and Shira agreed that it was best to take her to Terem again. So immediately when Shabbos was over Shira dropped the rest of us at home and she went to Terem. They were lucky that there wasn't a long wait (Shira said that when she left the line was considerably longer) and they were in and out in about an hour. Leora got a butterfly stitch.

On the way home, Shira picked up my mother because we had plans to go out to play Panoply at a shul event. We got the kids to sleep and went to the shul. Our RSVP had gotten lost in the email so we were put at the table of "extras" but luckily that included the ADDeRabbi. His trivia knowledge hepled us finish in second place out of 11. The other two couples at our table were also very nice and did well too and we all had a good time.

A little shpatzir

Today, we decided to give Rivka the day off to go shopping with Shira and Yeshaya. The four of us went to the Sussman bris in Chashmonaim with my father and then they dropped me off at my grandmother's house while they went to Yerushalayim. She goes to a group in Bet Shemesh every day besides Wednesday so I usually try to spend some time with her on Wednesday mornings. Shira has assured me that it's only a twenty minute walk if you take the shortcuts so I figured I could easily walk home. I did not realize how many stairs it was. Here is a map of the various routes
The green dot at the bottom is our house and the red line at the top is my grandmother's apartment building. The pink line is that fastest way to go in a car because it's mostly mountains so you have to go around in circles. When you walk though you can cut out a lot of it by taking stairs. The red line is the way that I walked today. You can see at the top the red line going down cuts out a lot but that was 246 steps (give or take a couple). Then near the bottom I went on another 76 steps. All the steps were going up so that was quite a hike. It took me almost exactly 20 minutes so Shira was right but it was not an easy walk. The brown line that goes all the way around is the route that Shira walks every Friday so she can get exercise. Her gym membership is only good Sunday-Thursday so for exercise on Friday she walks. Sometimes Yeshaya and I join her for the walk and when we do we can't take the stairs so we follow the brown line around to get there and then the pink line home. That takes about an hour but it's a tough walk because it's really hilly. When she's on her own though she takes the stairs back. She still goes that crazy route to get there because apparently 320 steps up isn't enough exercise. That's more than enough exercise for me ... for a week!

Yeshaya's Going To Gan

Before we moved to Israel we really debated on the schools and programs where we would send our kids. The hardest decision was places for Rivka and Zvi. Thank Gd I feel that we made the right choice for them. The school really seems to be meeting their needs. We have parent teacher conferences tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes. It was funny, I was speaking to a neighbor that sends her child to the same school. She mentioned that had she been living in NY she would never have sent her daughter to this school. It seems too Bais Yaakovy to her. I responded to her and said that our kids were going to schools in Baltimore even more right wing than this school. I guess it's all about where you're living.

Yeshaya was signed up for a part time playgroup before we left, but when we got here it fell through. I happened to become quite friendly with the person who was going to run it but failed to convince her to start it up. Initially David and I were happy that Yeshaya would be home with us. He's only two and we were looking forward to spending time alone with him. That didn't last too long. He just is so bored not having other kids around. We (mostly David) read him books all day long because we don't have many toys. Then when the kids come home and it's homework time he becomes a little troublemaker. We decided that he needs some sort of program. So after a few weeks worth of phone calls, emails etc. I have successfully found him the perfect gan. I'm really excited for him to start on Thursday. Of course when I tell him that he's going to gan he says "NO". I hope we don't have a repeat of Leora.

For Leora's kindergarten (Gan Chova) we got the one we requested. We wanted a religious school with long hours. At times I regret that we didn't check out other gannim but I'm not sure that her adjustment would have been any easier at another place. She is definitely improving daily but I think that she'll probably continue with the screaming and crying until the end of the year. It's just her way of showing us that she loves us :-)

This time I really was sick

Sunday night I wasn't feeling well when we were at my Saba and Savta's house. Then when we came home I threw up the hot dogs that I had eaten and I felt really sick. When I woke up I still felt sick and my parents said that I didn't have to go to school. I stayed home all day but I basically just stayed in bed most of the time. I played on the computer a little and went for a short walk and played with my football a little bit. I took medicine a few times and after I'd take it I felt better for a while but then I felt sick again. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and still wasn't feeling well and in the morning I felt a little better but still not perfect so my parents said I could stay home again. Today, I feel much better than I did yesterday but I'm still glad I could stay home. We went to get haircuts and then to visit my Savta a little more.

It's raining it's pouring

When I went to pick up Leora from gan today it was just starting to drizzle. In the US when it rains everyone hates it and complains all the time so I turned to Leora's friend, the security guard, and said, "aww it looks like rain." He responded that it was wonderful that it was going to rain. I said that it was great for the farmers and for us eventually when we get the produce but not great for him who has to open and shut the gate for everyone in the rain. He said, "No, the rain is amazing for everyone." It's just such a different attitude here. It rained pretty hard for about an hour in the evening. We had a drop of rain on Friday night and a little bit before Sukkot but this was our first real rainfall.

Tonight we had our second bi-weekly dinner at my parents' house with the Fredj's (my sister from Nof Ayalon). We're also planning on going to them for Shabbos. We haven't written anything about this past Shabbos so a quick recap here ... We had two girls stay with us for Shabbos from "Anywhere in Israel" - a nice program which hooks up kids here for the year with places for Shabbos. Last week the Kletzels had two girls for lunch when we were there and we liked the idea so we signed up and got our own guests. For dinner we had the Baks and the Wines (minus Debbie and the baby who are in the States). The kids all had a great time together. Thanks to the girls sleeping over we had babysitters and Shira was able to come with me to both shalom zachars that we had for Sussman and Peimer. Then for lunch we ate at the ADDeRabbi and his rebetzin's house. Rivka tried Bnei Akiva in the afternoon but found it boring and walked home in the middle. She's just not into these Shabbos afternoon groups since she quit Bnos in Baltimore also.

[this post was actually made by David ... sorry]

Leora's birthday party at Gan

Before I get into the details about the birthday party I'd like to describe how gan has been going for Leora so far this year. Shira has described it partially in the past but I'll try to give a little more detail here. Leora is in gan chova which is for kids who turned 5 by Rosh Hashana so she's one of the younger kids in the gan. Officially the day is until 1:20 but you have the option to pay and have the kids stay as late as 4:30 at tzaharon. Everyone in Leora's gan stays for tzaharon. There is one ganenet (teacher) and one assistant for 35 kids.

Leora went to gan on the first day and basically didn't know a word of Hebrew. At least half her class though speaks English so it shouldn't be a huge problem. Neither of her teachers know any English though. So Leora was a little freaked out. For a while she pretty much screamed any time someone would talk Hebrew to her. She's gotten better with that and now just tunes people out but doesn't run away screaming. After a couple weeks, we/the ganenet decided that we should stay with her for an hour so she could stay calm. It never really worked because it just delayed the screaming (we've since cut it down to only stay for 15 minutes). When we leave, she screams and runs out after us. There is a security guard outside the gan (there are a couple other gans inside there also) who stands by the gate. The door is open in the morning and afternoon when the parents are bringing their kids but the rest of the time the gate is locked and the security guard has to open it for anyone who wants to come or go. Each day, Leora runs out after us and we lock her behind the gate like she's in jail. She screams and cries for 15-60 minutes until she calms down. The teachers claim that once she calms down she's good and has lots of fun in school. So I'm still hoping that one day we'll take her and she won't run out after us screaming. It's going to happen one of these days.

They do three birthday parties in gan at a time and only do them on Fridays. The parents bring aruchat eser and cake and the teachers have an entire schedule of games and songs that lasts for over an hour. So the party was scheduled for 9:30. I brought Leora to gan at 8 and hoped that she'd let me leave right away but she still screamed and ran out to the gate when I left. I picked up my parents so Yeshaya, Shira, my parents and I showed up at Leora's gan at 9:30 for the big party. She was sharing the spotlight with two boys.

It was a very nice party and we got to see firsthand how Leora interacts with some of the kids. I'll include below a video of the hokey pokey in Hebrew and some other assorted pictures. It was a lot of fun but of course Leora screamed when it was time for us to leave.
video

Filling up the house again

Zvi's friend Noach's parents went away for a couple of days so Noach is staying with us for two nights. Then yesterday, Shira decided to call her brother Eli for the first time in a little while. He had been learning at Ohr Somayach for the last few months but decided that it was time to leave. Someone else was moving into his apartment this week so he had to get his stuff out and he's not yet sure where his next stop will be. So we invited him to stay with us until he figures out where he wants to go from here. Yeshaya, Shira and I went in to Yerushalayim this morning to help him empty his apartment. We stopped at the kotel for a few minutes and then went to his place. He had a lot of stuff but didn't have any furniture to move so we were able to fit it all in the van (we had removed the seats before we left). Hopefully he'll find a new place that works well for him soon - for his sake (we love having him).

Accents

SaraK linked to an accent quiz which I recommend. My results were:

Neutral

You're not Northern, Southern, or Western, you're just plain -American-. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don't really have a local identity. You might be from the region in that map, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz


This pretty much nails it since I was born in Monsey but moved to Dayton, Ohio when I was a few months old so I learned to talk there and I lived there until I was 9. Since then I've lived in Bridgeport, CT., Monsey, Manhattan, Toronto, St. Louis, Baltimore and now Israel. I had Shira try it since she lived in Toronto from the time she was born until she was almost 24. She answered differently than me on a few of the questions but she got the same results. Maybe it only works for Americans.

Language Differences

I'm writing this story on behalf of Rivka who is too tired to type. Today in school there were two Enlish speaking girls that were talking in the middle of class. The teacher tried to get them to be quiet by saying "sheket". After a few minutes when they still had not stopped talking the teacher, who doesn't know English well, walked over to them and said "shut up now". All the English speaking girls looked at each other, wondering if they heard right and then started laughing their heads off. The teacher realized that she must have said something incorrectly and asked how to say sheket in English.

We really enjoyed that story.

Another nice Shabbos

I know it's getting kind of stale with us saying almost every single Shabbos about how nice it was. Sorry. It's just that Shabbos here has always been nice and relaxing. This week, we had the Sussmans on Friday night and in shul JJ introduced me to a couple who made aliya to Modiin just ten days ago. They don't know anyone here so they were planning on eating alone. I invited them for dinner figuring Shira wouldn't mind (she didn't) and they accepted. It's the first time I ever met a couple that both had the same first name - Elie and Eli. It can get a little confusing.

Rivka went to Chashmonaim for Shabbos to a friend's house. This girl's family also came for the year but they sound like they're more sure that they're going to make aliya. Speaking of which, we are no closer to a decision than we were last time I posted about it.

For lunch, we went to the Kletzel's house. We had a really nice time and learned a lot about health and how important it is to cleanse our bodies out from all the bad stuff that we eat. They are both vegans but they do serve chicken on Shabbos for their guests and kids. I've never seen so many fruits and vegetables in a house before. Wherever you turn there are more fruit for the kids to nosh. They were a little horrified to learn that I eat chips all day and that Shira's main staple is Honey Bunches of Oats.

Second encounter with the cops

I forgot to blog about the second time that the cops pulled me over. On the way home from Ganei Yehoshua the kids were a little wild in the car and I saw two cops getting into their car as we were approaching. I warned the kids to calm down or the cops would pull us over and that always scares them so they quickly relaxed and sat up straight. It didn't help because a minute later the sirens went on and I slowed down until they told me on the loudspeaker to go to the side of the road.

I knew that I had done nothing illegal and that it was only because of my license plate. By this time I'm already a pro at dealing with this since I was just pulled over last month. They came out and started asking me lots of questions and asked for my license and registration. This time I figured I could talk in Hebrew since unlike last time I hadn't done anything illegal. They were nice but genuinely confused by the strange plates and the fact that I had an American driver's license. They then made a bunch of phone calls and after about 15 minutes came back to the car and said "Sa" - Go. No explanation, no apology for pulling me over for no reason. I guess I shouldn't really expect it. They were just doing their job but I just wish that I had something to tell these guys so I wouldn't have to wait 15 minutes every time they get curious about the plates.

Living without a TV

When David and I met we were both in agreement that we did not want a TV in our house. There was so much garbage on the tube and we didn't think it was an environment we would want to raise children in. Then after a year and a half when we move to St. Louis, I said to David "you moved me away from my family and friends, you are not moving me away from my TV too". So along with our other boxes we took a tv from my parents. It was so nice in the mornings to let the kids watch Barney and other cartoons while I got to rest. Also, since it was CST we were able to watch Seinfeld reruns and be asleep by 11 pm.
However after three and a half years it was time to move again. We moved to Baltimore and were now closer to friends and family. The tv got banished to the shed. Of course my mom would complain bitterly every time she would visit that there was nothing to do and she needed a tv. Finally after several visits we took the tv out of the shed for her. We plugged it in, heard a loud pop, and there went the tv. At least we tried.
When I had Leora, David bought we a treadmill as a present (I picked it out). I needed something to do while I was exercising. I had a little black and white tv that I inherited from my in-laws and that did the job. Next thing you know, the tv was coming back upstairs into my bedroom and David and I would gather around the little screen to catch glimpses of Law and Order. I was in heaven though. We then started collecting more black and white little tv's as gifts from IBM. I was able to have one by my bed, one by David's and one downstairs.
One day Avi informed us he was moving apartments and he had an extra COLORED tv. I jumped at the opportunity saying it would be perfect for my mom who complained that the little black and white tv was useless for her because of the "vakatka" reception. We inherited the tv and it took a proud place in our new guest room in the basement. The kids only used it for one hour a week to watch cartoons on Sunday morning. At this point in our lives though, I didn't get to rest, because I was constantly needed to break up the fights.
More recently, once Avi and Tikki were married, they again had an extra tv. This one with a built in VCR. David wasn't into taking it, but of course I jumped at the chance. This tv that we inherited got the proud place in our bedroom. All this time we never had cable tv. One day though shortly before me moved to Israel we got a call from Comcast informing us that we were getting free cable all along because the cable to our house for the internet was missing a filter. Oh well. I was happy that I got all of my shows without needing cable.
Now to Israel. We do not have a tv. In fact in Israel you pay a tax if you have a tv, above any service fee. So I'm kind of in withdrawal. I've tried to find shows on the internet and sometimes I'm more successful than others. For example, yesterday I watched two back to back episodes of Criminal Minds not having to worry about buffering but when I tried it again later, the show would stop every few seconds to buffer. It was very annoying. So I guess I will have to resign myself to life without TV, but at least I have Facebook :)