Saturday, October 27, 2007

weekend in jlem

I'm sitting at my brothers place in Modiin waiting for my wife to come back so we can start the long drive home. Actually, it's shorter to drive home then it was to drive to Cleveland - in other words long is relative.
We spent shabbos in jerusalem with my mom and we had a very nice time. It was a little bit tense as my children are not used to being in a small enclosure with breakable (ruinable?) items, but that's life. I went to sleep at about 1:30 AM on Thursday night after a midnight shopping trip to go get vegetables. I had been on the road since about 6 PM and by the time I finished shopping, I was so fried that there was no way I was going to make it for a short visit to the old city, so I just went back to the apartment and went to sleep. I got my visit in to the wall the next morning. One of my kids woke up at 5:30 and decided he was going to start making a ruckus. I decided it was more worth my while to get up and I took him to the wall for shachris (morning prayers). After davening, I messaged my wife to see if anyone was up yet and she told me they were still sleeping, so I took the kid with me for a nice breakfast. Parking was free because they don't start charging at the meters until 8AM, and we were back at the apartment by then.
We headed off to the zoo to spend the morning, and I went to sleep lying on the ground at the children's zoo. I live in a children's zoo so I didn't feel I was really missing much if I didn't see it in that location.

Shabbos was very nice, we got to spend some quality time with the chosson (groom), which we enjoyed.

The baby was asleep on the floor after some crying and one of the kids just went and woke her up. ARGHHH
Have a good night.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

rabin - 12 years later

Yesterday was the 12 year anniversary of the death of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. I remember very clearly when I heard about it. I was in the US at my parents house. Shabbos had just ended and we were cleaning up. The phone rang, it was a friend of mine from NY (actually he is from Indianapolis, but he was living in NY). He asked me if I saw the news and I said no. He then told me that Rabin had been killed. He was very depressed about it because it meant Shimon Peres was the prime minister and that could only mean downhill for the political process. My thoughts at the time ran the gamut from "what horrible news" to "can it get worse then Oslo." I had heard the calls that the prime minister must be killed to save Jews from the horrible Oslo process. I don't know who had thought that it would actually make a difference. The political system is not run by a single man. Though in Israel everyone seems to think that it is. A national decision by Rabin, Peres or Sharon is not made on a personal whim, but only after polls, meetings, discussions etc...

Of course the other side of the coin is "Wag The Dog," which indicates that politicians in power will abuse their power without keeping the nation in mind in order to solve personal problems. But does anybody really believe that Clinton bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant to change the public's focus?

I was written up in Globes. They did an article about American olim in hi-tech. It's in Hebrew, so it isn't readable by all of you. Let me know if you want to see the article, I have a PDF copy.

We're heading down to jlem for the weekend. Mom is here getting ready for the big wedding and the sister has a shaitel party (in nice language) on Saturday night that my wife wants to go to.

I still haven't tried the GlobeTask free trial, but it is getting rave reviews from 2 friends who have tried it. I just have to figure out if it is worth the money to have someone else handle the minor stuff and only focus on what needs me. The idea of a virtual assistant is very tempting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Picking fruit at a U-Pick is like fishing in a stocked pond.

I know I haven't been blogging recently. I am just so busy.

A friend of mine tried out a virtual assistant service called GlobeTask, where he sends work to a virtual assistant for a very low price and it gets done. It's like sending your clothes to the cleaners, you just give them instructions either by email or phone and they handle all the details. He highly recommended it to me, I just have to decide if I have any tasks that I can actually delegate instead of doing them myself. Delegation is very hard because if you pride yourself on quality, then trusting anybody to do as good of a job is difficult to say the least. I am over-buried in work these days, so it is a thought. If anybody else has used GlobeTask or other virtual assistants and can comment on quality, please leave a comment.

The holidays were great and jammed pack. We had 2 sukkahs this year, as we did last year, one for eating and one for sleeping. The 1 night that we didn't sleep in it (we got back from jlem too late) it collapsed because of a non-normal wind. (If it was a normal wind, it wouldn't have been a kosher sukkah to begin with, which is why I assume it was an extra strong wind.)
We started off the holiday with my brother (and family) and sister (without fiance) coming up. I lost the Scrabble game by about 35 points, but I am out of practice so 35 points isn't so bad. Friday we went to the Carmel mountains for a hike through Little Switzerland. The tour book said it was a circular trail, but we realized that it wasn't exactly circular so we turned around in good time and headed back the way we came.

On Sunday we went to the Yehiam crusader castle for the big Renaisance Festival. The festival wasn't until Monday, but we went on the guided tour anyways. It was free because we are members of the National Parks. Sunday night we had a little Sukkah party in our sukkah and had 5 couples over for some nice socializing.

Monday was oleh regel day, we planned on heading down to Jlem and then to the bet shemesh concert in the evening. Sunday night, #4 threw up all through the night so we weren't sure if we were going to go at all. Monday mornign I gave the 3 older kids the option to go down anyways by ourselves or to do something fun in the north. They chose to head south. We had a great time and the kids had an amazing time at the concert in the evening. Going through the old city on Sukkos is unbelievable. it is packed with people and there are things going on all the time. This year there was a large concert in the Southern Excavation as well. We also tried to go to the hike in the City of David, but the lines were too long and the hike was 3 hours, but the kids really wanted to go in the water and the Shiloach river is part of the hike. So I decided to take them somewhere else where we could just go into the water. We went just outside of Ein Kerem in Jlem to a KKL(JNF) park called the Sataf. You can drive right over to the springs and there is a small pool of water there. The catch is that you have to jump 20 feet down to get into the pool of water. I watched someone else do it first to make sure that it wasn't dangerous and the girls wanted to go in, so I jumped in first so I could help them if they couldn't swim in their skirts and then the girls jumped in. They had a great time. The boy can't swim well enough yet, so he didn't jump in, but there is a little cave with water in it, that he crawled through, so everyone had a good time.

Tuesday we lazed around and Wednesday we woke up early to go fruit picking. After this experience I have decided that picking fruit at a U-Pick is like fishing in a stocked pond. We went to the river to pick blackberries. We walked through the water and after we finished eating the blackberries we gathered enough in the bag for blackberry pie. While we were walking around we found fig trees with delicious fresh figs. Hanging from a very tall tree there was a grape vine with clusters of purple grapes. I explained to the kids that we were not greedy and we would only take one cluster...if we could reach them. I swung a very long stick at a cluster and managed to knock some of the grapes into the river and the kids quickly pounced on them. I considered climbing the tree to get a cluster, but my wife was getting too nervous. After this experience I can't imagine going to a U-Pick and calmly taking the fruit from the tree.