Friday, April 29, 2011

Hallali

Dear Fatimah Hachalil,

It was fun chatting.  After we hung up I thought about your comment (in the seconds I was able to hold a thought before it floated away) "I like talking to you, it feels like we spoke yesterday".  I realized that even though I hadn't thought it, you really did miss me and that you are one of  few rare friendships that no matter how long goes in between our conversations, you are just ingrained into the mapping of my life irrespective of time or space. A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

xx,
Lila Tov.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Super blogger- not.

I always thought I'd be a super blogger.  I have tons of thoughts swimming 'round the ol' noggin and usually grab a pen and paper anyway. But- through this blogging experience- i realized that to a certain extent-blogging can be a wee bit tough.  For one,  I try not to write the creme de' la' creme of the personal thoughts.  For another, I sometimes just feel like jotting a line or two down, and I felt that wouldn't get bloggers interested in reading my blog- until I noticed that nearly a month has gone by since my last musing here or here.

A few days ago, I started to read The Pilgrimage,by Paulo Cuehlo.  I don't read his books too often because I get lost in them and then in my own head- comparing the tests and lessons.  And I started thinking- how foolish it was not to throw out the random line or two of thoughts or even---the unfinished post. So, I decided to be *daring today.

'Course, change isn't easy, I have 3 unfinished drafts that I'm not quite read to post- but may or may not force myself to. If I do, it will be completely out of chronological order with lots of "10 days ago but 3 days after" type of stuff.

So, I'm home, working on a project with a programmer who sits in India, and watching Mary Poppins on TV- who-highly respected nanny or not, she clearly didn't know that giving kids 'a spoonful of sugar' makes them hyper not sleepy. And with all the cannonballs shot by the pirate next door to where magical Ms. Poppins worked, breaking all their collectibles- it leads to the question- why didn't the family nail down or remove the fragile f#$%^^# knick knacks.  And, why didn't they complain to their local municipality about the damage and ruckus the cannonballs made? And why didn't Mary put a spell on the damn pirate to be nicer?
Uchhh. When sweet childhood movies annoy, it means turn them off until you have your own kids to watch fall under the magic spell and before you taint your own memories forever.

See- perhaps that was best left and unwritten thought? I'm tired and need to go for a run for an upper. But instead, here I sit online while my programmer moves at a snails pace at something I am rushing to complete.  So Mary it is. And perhaps a large glass of Brandy.....

*sarcasm

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oy Vey

I'm busy. Not super busy where I cannot breath- but definitely busy.  I'm creating a new user interface, re-brand and new site and marketing materials for the company I work for.  I have been here about 6 months and have learned a lot about certain technologies that before were only a logo I may have seen in passing.  It's a lot of information to wrap your mind around ad it has taken some time-  I have time to do it all- but since most of my life has been about work and building my own personal business plan and trying- unsuccessfully thus far- to find investors for a non tech product-I have created- It's all work and no play.  I go out of course with friends, dates etc- But it sometimes feels like too may things are unsettled and it's all on me.

And this last week has been super busy- I'm watching Oliver my former foster dog ( adopted by my neighbor) for the last week or so- as my friend's dad had to unexpectedly have a triple bypass in the UK.  Then Ruby hurt her leg and is on 7 days of bed rest and painkillers- I was instructed by my vet to carry her up and down the stairs but Ruby weighs nearly 40lbs and it would mean carrying her-in an awkward position up and down 3 flights of stairs, 3 times a day.  After one day- I was so sore-I was shocked at how weak my arms were. yikes.  So we are both walking up and down very slowly.  And- my fridge is having a slow and steady demise.  I see I have only a few days left before she gives up and I buy a new one.  Again I will need more movers. It's never ending here.

So basically 99% of my life is work, obligation and sleep.  The other 1% is fun.  Not a good balance. It's not so much hectic as the feeling that no matter what I do- nothing seems to go anywhere- That is the hardest part I think. Because it serves to make you feel like doing less, not more.  And I think doing more makes more happen. Sigh.  Lots to do.  I'll be happy when these major projects are live.  At least this week is the holiday-I get to be at home most days and work in a relaxed quiet way with music blasting. That's always more fun.  I'll get in some extra workouts- bc you can never be too rich or in shape enough (instead of too thin).  Ok boring post- but the blog is where I vent these days.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sleepy with a side of tired.

I'm pretty sleepy lately.

It was my birthday a little over a week ago and I like to avoid it as much as possible. I like to or used to celebrate all the little things in life, but when I was down n out, I couldn't and then got out of the habit.  This year, since I loathe the club scene (am all about the concerts man), I made some delicious cookies for my office and they also arranged for a cheesecake (yum) and lil present for me. So nice. And, I had a not so quiet dinner with friends at one of my favorite restaurants.

One year, I remember I was on an MTV top 100 videos of the year countdown. I was number 16. My clip was me blowing out  the candles of a birthday cake as the light faded to U2's With or Without You.  That was an excellent birthday celebration even though it wasn't on my birthday.  I also met Weird Al. I thought that was pretty nifty. Random thought. A good one though.

Anyway, this year's celebration was just what I wanted. Good food, good friends, good dessert and some white, hot candle wax dripping down....wait...WHAT?!


Ha. As my friends and I sat in our booth surrounded by elaborate candelabras with thick white 10inch candles....one of them burned and melted on a slant causing the t-light nesting inside the large candle to suddenly flutter down, lit and nearly empty of wax right next to my leg.  As it flew down, a few drops of wax landed on Leticia's jacket lining and nearly all over my fancy pants.

Oh no, they didn't-said Keren, the queen negotiator.Oh Waiter......yes. Why are you trying to kill us? we are so very sorry.  we will pay for the dry cleaning of the coat....But what else do we get for my friend nearly being killed by a candle on her birthday (did I mention queen wheedler?)?

ahhh. a beautiful bottle of champagne and extra dessert. Perfect. More giggles and raunch. Great night.

Next day I woke up petrified, worried what was to become of me. 35 and single. Egad said Hiram.. society's kiss of death. Ignore ignore ignore. Sometimes positive thinking works and sometimes you want to stand next to a running subway car and scream your head off (I'm from NY. The subway is VERY loud. So loud that on a frustrating workday, as the train pulls out, you can scream or sing off key at the top of your lungs for 5 -7 glorious seconds and no one will hear you or think it is a bit weird). I shook off the mood creeping up and ran out with Ruby. We were meeting some other friends to have mini-my-birthday-as-a-good excuse-to-meet time. Fun and nice.

After that, was busy working and re-assessing my life. Past, present, future. I managed to thoroughly freak myself out. It started out as a calm feeling, followed by some flutters in my tummy.Later in the week, pms reared her unforgiving head and I felt like...well like caca.  So, I decided, best not to post for a few days until it passes.

I took a few steps back, cried a bit (we have all been there people), took many deep breaths and hung out with my best pals who let me vent, made me laugh (ahem, Hiram) and adore me and my quirks.  Few days of cocooning, eating low fat microwave popcorn (I watch myself no matter what. A couple of grey days is one thing. A couple of grey days that make my jeans tighter? eh eh. I don't think so.) and cuddling and taking long walks with Ruby. Also, a few late night calls to some friends for some..er...stronger venting.

All in all, I felt better but exhausted. Going out more, worrying, pms and lowering my coffee and sugar intake- over the past weeks had all caught up with me in a single ball. But- it passed and here I am, keyboard to screen, once again.

I will say having my besties- near and far, around me, there is nothing better than that (except for what we discussed at dinner- now that is mucccch better.;)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Intuition VS. Premonition

Do you know what the difference is between intuition and premonition?  I do. Theoretically I do.

The dictionary defines INTUITION as a "knowledge or belief obtained neither by reason nor by perception; an instinctive knowledge or belief." whereas PREMONITION is defined as "as intuition of a future occurrence".

Clearly closely related. Intuition- you just have an immediate flash about something right here, right now. Premonition- a flash in a dream or through an intuitive thought about the future.

For the last 2 years, I was very disappointed with myself,  I would ask my friends and family their opinion on decisions and they would ask me "what does your intuition or gut tell you?" and I had no response. I felt like my intuition and premonitions has left me and I was left to depend on other people for what my gut used to tell me.  I felt abandoned by my own self.

When  I was younger, I had premonitions through dreams or flashes. They came to me here and there but I never knew when.  The premonitions usually came as a flash.

When I was little, I was obsessed with the idea that one of my parents might die and I didn't understand how that was a possible occurrence, I had nightmares about it.  I asked my mother about it.  My younger brother Donny and I would take turns entering my parents closet, sitting on the floor and talking to god about it- discussions about both our parents living.  I was, I guess about 5 or 6.  A little after that, my dad started getting sick, then sicker and then, more regularly, eventually spending almost 2 straight years in the the hospital before dying of MDS (Pre-Leukemia).  I guess, somewhere in both of us (my brother and I), we always knew our life trajectory did not involve 2 parents, long before the path to it occurred.  Children are so unconsciously aware, I think their abilities are much sharper but they understand them less. Or maybe not.  I was, of course, devastated when my father did die, but I was never SURPRISED by the fact that is happened in actuality.  I think in a strange way, I made peace with it long before it happened.

My childhood cat-Pokey (after the horse from Gumby and Pokey) a gift for my 16th birthday, was about 12 years old- late middle age for a cat- and I decided to make the move from living in an apartment with a roommate for 4+ years to my first 'adult' apartment, a one bedroom on the 4th floor of a rickety and very old brownstone.  As I carried Pokey over the threshold of the building, I got a flash "this will be her last home".  I tried to ignore this thought that entered into my mind in bright, hot pink, flashing neon. But, I knew it was true.  About 9 months into the contract, I decided I wanted to move to Israel a year later, so I planned to move in, once again with a roommate so I could save more.  I felt in a way relieved that the premonition was wrong. Pokey moved with me to the new apartment.  3 months later, she died of lung tumors- something she did not have at the time I moved.  I am pretty sure it was a year to the week I moved.  So, I fooled the premonition geographically but not on time encompassed in that one year contract.

Before all my best friends announced they were pregnant their first time around, I always knew beforehand.  I don't know if it was the subtle change in their eyes guarding their secret carefully though the first trimesters trials or an intuitive flash while awake or via a dream.

In Israel, at my first job, we had a training session for all new employees. There were about 30 people I had met or seen once or twice. I looked every one over- just to explore all the new faces around me.  During one break, this extremely tiny woman and I started casually speaking for about 2 minutes when I asked her when she was due.  She looked at me shocked.  'How did you know'?  She was 3 months along and had not even told her family she was pregnant yet. She was so thin, she had no bump, I had never met her before. I just...knew.  And I told her that.  People in Israel understand intuition and premonitions as well as breathing air, so my answer of "I just knew" was met without question.   But lately I just felt unable to tell the difference between, intuition, premonition or intense inner dialogue.  So, I felt dependent on others to be my mirrors to make decisions.  Not fun. I like to make my own decisions, but I just felt nothing. I was reaching, but it was all inner dialogue,thoughts I was willing to be true, nothing more.  It's a very weak place to be where you doubt your own thoughts and judgments.

I spent some time working with a medium- 3 months actually.  She is fairly amazing with eyes so brown, they are black and while most walk around with empty eyes, hers were so full the black of her eyes were a solid black. Impossible to penetrate and read but so full there was a ring of peace around her that radiated.  Actually, "L" was my Grinburg Method therapist- touch and talking together.  After any physical trauma, physical work on the body to "rejoin" the physical and spiritual need to be reconnected.  It's a very interesting metaphysical journey.  To some, it is hooha. To me, it was time spent with a therapist giving both my mind and body a deep reawakening and reconnection to myself.

Over the last year or so, since working with L, and on my own, I have come back to myself and recently, the last few months, I have felt no premonitions at all- which to me is fine since they were like everyone else's, never scheduled and not under my control, they happen when they happen. But my intuition- my intuition has started whispering to me again.  I feel it when I get an immediate read on people and know everything I need to know. I don't know everything, I just pick up, something, as it pertains to how it might affect me.  It's unbelievably comforting and comfortable.  Intuition makes it easy to walk the other way, to say no and allow peoples thoughts and opinions to roll over and off me when my intuition reminds me that in some ways- no one else can know better for me than me.
In the meantime, I am loving the very strong reconnection with myself and intuition. Cheesy ending to this long thought, but- my Ipod is now playing a snippet of "Royale with Cheese" from Pulp Fiction and I am laughing too hard...to write....more...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The dreamer in me

So, now that I have redone my living room- which feels so lovely and cozy, it's time for my bedroom.  Ideally, I'd love a romantic, luxe bed- something ethereal and oh so Anthropologie - I mean, this bed, I swear is sprinkled with fairy dust- literally (great photography)so lovely.

But, I will keep my bed for now. It is really nice. Thick dark wood, very square lines. Queen sized, natch. Best part is that I can pop the hood/pull up the mattress and underneath the bed is loads of storage space. So it is convenient for a thick, cozy sweater hoarder like me who never has enough closet space.

That said, I have these beautiful Indian/Moroccan sheets  I sometimes use which are lovely. They are sage and rust paisley patterns, with a touch of opulent gold- very winter. very lovely.


This is the only picture of the bedding I have. My sister, Chef Jessica took it a couple of years ago after I had much Brandy-so warm- and I am wearing my favorite shirt in the world, that I left in the States packed in a box -why dammit, why.

I also have some light blue sheets that are thick cotton. They look like hotel sheets(nice ones) with a dark brown thin strip running in a square around the duvet and shams. I use them more often because the thread count in a little lower so they don't wrinkle as much.

But, I need a change.  I love blues but have a special love for aqua and teal.  I'm pretty sure it's because as a Pisces (or as I prefer- Mermaid) I feel most serene when surrounded by water colors- even my tree is in a teal and green glazed pot.

But, I wanted an uber feminine jolt.

Rummaging through my online stash of design sites, I stumbled across this picture and fell in love.


 Can't remember what site I found this picture on, but when I do-I'll post a credit.  I adore the red velvet curtains, mauve fabric headboard, patterned wallpaper with a touch of blue and all the lovely little trinkets floating about.

Of course, I need to reinterpret to items I can find (and living in a country where the language and culture is secondary to my own, my entire life these last 5 years has been about reinterpretation- it does keep me spry though).


I found these amazing curtains to put up behind my head, cutting the dark thick wood and giving it a feminine twist. Added bonus- these are thick curtains and will stop my peeping Tom neighbors from...peeping in.

They are pink and red on a lite, flat velvet. Love.


Next, bedding.  I have off white/slightly cream walls in my rental that I am not allowed to paint over, not even to plain white. So walls are out.  I decided to go simple with stark white sheets and instead use my pillowcases and flat sheet for the spot of aqua. I found these amazing pillowcases- also from Anthro.  But, alas, the sheets are sold out- so I will make a mad dash for the pillowcases and stay with white sheets.

But now the hard part. Ruby, my little black wolf, sleeps with me on the bed.  I don't let her on my sheets or pillows so I usually have a bedspread over my own for her to sleep on.

I did find this luxe teal throw at a local shop Ginger (in Diz center and Neve Tzedek), but girlfriend Leticia, who has the same one in a fabulous fuchsia, warned me that the blanket sheds more than both Ruby and I combined. NG. Not good.


So, the quest for the perfect teal spread continues. Also means I cannot put up the new white bedding and curtains until this is solved or my white bed will be covered in black hair in no time.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saying goodbye, why is it sad...a story about a girl and her sofa

You got me. I borrowed the line (the first 2 anyway) from the movie Muppets Take Manhattan. Great film. Kermie and Miss Piggy are an underrated classic love story of our time.

What? This is about furniture.

Since I have lived in Israel, I have been lucky enough to have had, when I arrived, some people hand me down, some...er....hand me downs.  I got an old, leather, light grey sofa bed (proper US sofa bed on springs with a mattress), and a matching side chair. All old and worn, but in good condition and no musty smell. Score.

When you make Aliyah, there are so many more expenses that you don't quite...plan for.  Everything is unbelievably, illogically expensive. So anything you get for free is helpful. I did however, buy the coffee table pictured from Ikea-new.  It seems to be the law in Israel. You must have a piece from Ikea or you won't belong. ooopa!

Old Furniture and Lila the Ficus
FYI- That is my beautiful tree when I first got her in 2007.  Originally name Stewie due to the oddly shaped leaf formation, but as tree puberty hit, Stew morphed into a tall willowy delicate tree with long branches full of green leaves and when I transferred him from the original orange plastic pot from the nursery into a more appropriate and lovely, tall, teal and green glazed ceramic planter, she was reborn Lila- a name I have always loved (and has been my belly dancing name for many years "Lila Tov").  Ruby -most likely would have been named Lila as she is black as night, but I had named the foster puppy before her and it wasn't my turn for naming.  Anyway- Lila the Ficus now sits on my porch, gathering up the sun, her branches raising to meet the light and using the excuse of rain to throw temper tantrums- as is the temperament of the Ficus- by throwing her leaves all over the floor each time the seasons change.

Bout 3 years back, when my ex and I were moving into our new apartment, some friends gave us their parents  20+year old table and chairs.  We happily took it- as I had spent my first 2+ years in Israel eating over a coffee table and feeling like a little old lady hunching over as I ate. Ouchie. Don't get me wrong, as a starter set- they were free and suited my purpose just fine. But, I like beautiful things the way men like beautiful women (and they call us shallow?) and here was the perfect table at the perfect price. 

Life was hectic, Life was busy, Life was expensive.  3 years later-lots had changed in my life but that 'temporary' table was still in my apartment.  By now- the legs of the wooden retro chairs looked a little bit more worn- Ruby had used them as teething sticks when she was a puppy and the legs were all gnawed at, so that if your foot might temporarily graze the wrong spot, one might end up with a splinter or two. It became a game of chance for my toes, with my toes inadvertently losing. Sure, I tried to sand the legs down. I used light sandpaper, heavy sandpaper, rubbed the chairs to smooth them both by hand and with a sanding machine.  These chairs though, they didn't want to be altered.  I can appreciate that. 20+ years in one state.  I left the chairs alone. They earned their right to maintain their status.

But, after 5 years, I finally decided I earned my right to give into my anal side, get some new furniture- that was straight, even, neat and maybe even a little bit more my personal style.

My dream sofa- 9,500nis.
Not the easiest feat in Israel. Stylish furniture is beyond expensive. A velvet sofa with a bed inside in the US might cost between $500-1000.  In Israel a gorgeous velvet sofa- no sofa bed- would cost 9,000nis. About $2,300.  The average salary in Israel is 7,500nis. So..nix the velvet sofa idea and be practical.


Since many people who make Aliyah leave after purchasing new flat screen tv's, new Ikea furniture, etc, I decided to try my hand and peruse all the Anglo sites.  When you are trying to leave the country quickly, you need to sell you stuff fast. This usually mean at least 25%-50% off.  In these tight economic times- I decided it was the way to go.

MONTHS AND MONTHS. Nothing.  I did score a gorgeous plum colored sofa for my friend Gilad at half the original price.  He was so happy, he wrote me a song. Just kidding. Well, he did write me a song, but not because of the sofa, because I am his muse. Damn cool.  Always wanted to be a muse.

...A couple of weeks ago, I answered an ad for a woman leaving Israel. She was selling all her furniture and I clicked on her link and was instantly filled with shock and happiness.  Her dining table and chairs were Shabby Chic style. I emailed her-"I want it".  Didn't know the price, didn't know if there were any imperfections. Not sure I cared. I was so excited to see something I liked that did not require Ikea assembly and aggravation that their materials pucker and bubble at the first drops of water, something fairly foolish for an overpriced dining table.


I also decided to let my pal Keren convince me to hit the street market near "Tachanat Ha mercazit"- a bustling series of streets known for their cheap, fast, custom made pieces of furniture.  Walk in to shop, select shape of sofa, pour through material racks, select sofa material, argue over price, 3 free pillows, pour over more racks of material, select 3 separate pillow materials, convince (aka let Keren convince) shop to allow 3 separate materials for 3 separate pillow, rethink the material for the sofa, have Keren negotiate for a great price. Sign, sealed, Arriving in 2 weeks. Talking about getting new sofa-over a year. Actively deciding to go look for a new sofa- 1 week.  Time spent on purchase- 1 hour. Rock on.
Last Thursday night- the table, chairs and other bits arrived.

 I scrambled to push all the old furniture out of the way- 

Old table
















And say hello to the new improved dining area....
New Shabby Chic Table
Friday morning, I wake up excited as ever to see my new table.  Changes like these are like unwrapping presents over and over again.  I grab Ruby for an extra long Friday morning speedwalk/dog park session.  An hour and a half into it, I get a call. "Your furniture is ready, we are coming to deliver it!" a raspy, overly aggressive voice shouts to me in Hebrew. "Wait, what?, they said it would take another week, my house is full of furniture".  'Well, we are coming today or Sunday'. No argument. Bastards.

Welcome to the land of Milk, Honey and total inconvenience. "Ok, I'll be home in an hour".  Ruby and I finish our session and head home breathless and a little excited.  I start pushing my old sofa and chair out to my porch to try and make room.  At this rate, my apartment is starting took like one of these furniture shops. As I huff and puff to move the furniture through the apartment, I slip and stumble. I remember thinking-"oh just a stumble", until my knee smashed to the ground and my ass followed suit. "Ahh" I said and then thought of this and started cracking up.  Nothing better than having a good laugh on your own, even as your knee is dripping blood.

Furniture arrived.  Movers here love to complain about everything.  I live on the second floor- and the sofa was very light and arrived in 2 pieces, not to mention the hefty moving fee I paid- so pity, I had not.  I paid them, served up some fine lemonade and sent them on their way, but not before discovering one of the pillows was the wrong color.  Of course the movers told me it was my mistake and showed me the invoice- "it says a yellow pillow".  I told them that they were wrong "nope- it clearly says Turquoise, not yellow and besides this pillow is BROWN".  Israeli's will never admit when they are wrong.  Ah well, a 2 minute phone call to the shop and they said they would take care of it.  Ok- for Israeli customer service, getting an item early and them correcting a mistake is a miraculous event- even if it means I need to go bring back the wrong pillow and pick up my hopefully- correctly, corrected pillow tomorrow.

Ruby relaxing on the new sofa
My apartment was looking amazing! Neat and chic with colorful pillows strewn jauntily about. I threw down my area rug (bc it so ties the room together) and moved my gorgeous walnut and glass coffee table onto it.  I did a bunch of trading for this coffee table and it is dear.

What to do with my old furniture.  It was in good condition and deserved a good home.  I went online and got to work posting on Anglo and Israeli sites.  While posting, I felt some deep pangs of sadness and separation. Strange to have so much sentiment for furniture but for me, the furniture signified a life altering decision to move from NYC to Tel Aviv Israel, thousands of miles away from friends and family.  It was where maybe 35-40 foster dogs climbed and played and where my ex and I used to cuddle and kiss when we first met. Pathetic truth be told, I always thought we would keep that sofa and use it in a room where kids could come in, play around and go bananas. The sofa marked my Israeli history, but none of that came to fruition and I was rewriting history yet again. I needed to move it all out.

I got a bunch of calls over the week and then finally, someone actually came to see it. 2 newbie roommates looking to inexpensively furnish their new rental.  I had a date the night they came- who was early, so he came and hung out, chatting easily with the potential buyers, then, with a subtlety I was not expecting, he moved into the kitchen and made a phone call to let me handle my things without interruption.  Hmm, nice.

Tomorrow morning-the sofa, side chair, dining table and chairs are going to be moved out of my home, closing a chapter in the history of my life, the story of my Aliyah, my happiness, some stress,some bittersweet experiences, new friends, my renewed health and finally back again, my happiness.

It is time to record the next generation of Aliyah-ers history.

Over and Out.