Monday, July 28, 2008

gerbils in my head

sometimes i like to talk as i fall asleep. i like how everything slowly
turns to gibberish. it becomes harder and harder to concentrate and
stay lucid. i'll say something completely nonsensical, sprouting from a
bizarre pre-dream my mind is concocting, then hearing myself will
briefly bring me back to reality and the realization that what i just
said was just crazy sleep talk. "don't forget the third basket" or "why
would the apples lie?" etc etc. followed inevitably by "sorry,
nevermind, that doesn't make sense". i once actually carried on a
conversation while fully asleep and unaware.

*gasp*"ohhhh....look at all the ponies!"
"which one is your favourite?"
"the blue one"
"are these real ponies or My Little Ponies?"
"they're REAL!!!"
then there was something about making pancakes.

my friend reminded me of another recent utterance: "why do i bother with love?" haha! she called it the sweetest and saddest thing she'd ever heard. oy....

anyway, once in this soporific stupor (possibly enhanced by
drunkenness) i described my muddled thoughts as little wood shavings
being scattered around by the gerbils running through my head. it made
perfect sense to me, and i still feel it's an accurate analogy. stupid
rambunctious gerbils making a mess of all my thoughts, no wonder i
can't think straight!

i'm sleepy. i think i need a nap before the gerbils start to play.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

date from hell

after going to some lame movie that i didn't want to see, i try to salvage the evening.

how about beer and a couple games of pool? no, he hates pool. in fact,
he tells me, he hates all forms of games. anything and everything
remotely like a game, he hates. wtf? who hates games? "i know you like
games a lot, but i figured i'd give you a chance anyway" oh yay...
lucky me.

we go to a pub and he smuggles in some chicken he bought elsewhere. he
proceeds to tear into it while i watch in disgust as his face gets
greasier by the bite. shoving his mess to the side, he leans in toward
me, baring his teeth and asking if he's got anything stuck. then he
attempts a joke by yelling at the waitress that our table is filthy. i

he tells boring stories about puppies, sipping his diet coke, his dull
pointless ramblings punctuated by lots of "golly gee"s and "oh boy"s. i
drink my beer and glare.

walking home he asks if he can kiss me. i say i don't think so. he asks
if he can see my feet. "nothing weird, i just want to look at them".
what do you mean nothing weird; that is fucking weird. so no.

he apologizes, says he doesn't know how to act on a date. he really
wants to meet a nice girl but gets so nervous and doesn't know how to
be himself. he hates his job, he's made so many mistakes etc etc. he
starts to cry and the night mercifully draws to its end.

okay, so that wasn't ONE date. that is a compilation of some of the
worst moments on my worst dates. but they are all completely, utterly,
and unfortunately, true.

thankfully, a few real gems of dates and a sense of humour keep me sane.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

finding little things

that's what you need to foucs on. sometimes you have to search, but you
can always find something. the last week or so i haven't quite been
myself. i've been letting some of the ugliness in this world get to me.
people were cruel, life was unfair. i couldn't stop thinking about all
that was sad and unjust. not only my personal life, but work can be
draining as well. i hear about people's struggles to make ends meet and
support their families, their depression, their debilitating diseases,
their life changing accidents, their dying family, their stillborn
babies. it can be hard to stay upbeat when i every day i speak to new
people with new hardships.

so i look for the positives in a day, no matter how small. yesterday i
got a thoughtful and unexpected text from a friend. a weird man in the
village told me i sparkled. the vending machine gave me an extra dime!
i had a few good laughs. someone thanked me for helping her.

i like my job. i do help people. i get thanked a lot actually. really
sincere, overwhelming gratitude. and i've got such a great family, i'm
so lucky to be so close to them. i've got unbelievable friends that are
always there for me. these aren't little things. they're huge.

getting a free dime is just a bonus.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

hell hath no fury

today i snapped. crumbled. broke down.

i've been good at not letting things get to me. i've straightened my
back, brushed myself off, been the bigger person, let things go. i
wasn't going to let a bunch of shitty experiences embitter me or crush
my spirit. just be a good person amanda, it's okay, it'll be okay, life
is good!

but today i felt defeated. i don't want to believe the best in people.
i don't want to trust anyone. i don't want to give anyone the benefit
of the doubt because they don't deserve it!!

i've been lied to, i've been slandered, i've been used, i've been
betrayed. and what have i done? i forgave. WELL FUCK THAT! i'm tired of
being nice and understanding. what has that gotten me? stomped on,
taken advantage of, and hurt. where's the justice? why doesn't being a
decent human being count for anything?

i've had enough. i crumbled today, but i'm back on my feet now. and the
next person that steals from me, lies to me, tries to screw me over, or
treats me with anything less than respect will get the retribution they

i'm still the same person. i still consider myself laid back and not
easily rattled. i still take most things in stride. but i have my
limits. and you'd be wise not to test them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

more from israel

gave you guys a bit of a break, here's the note i wrote after the wedding...

Mazel Tov! - June 17

everyone should have the chance to experience a jewish wedding.
weddings are always joyous occasions, but never have i been a part of
something so enthusiastically celebratory as this wedding. my people
know how to throw a party!

first of all, let me just say how stunning jennie looked. so beautiful
it brought tears to my eyes. shabi looked fantastic too. they were
perfect: gorgeous, glowing, and in love.

the venue was spectacular, a lovely garden with candlelight, a little
stream, an outdoor bar, and of course the huppah. first there was an
hour or so of mingling as people arrived, various stations set up
serving incredible appetizers. yum!

then the ceremony began. us siblings walked down the aisle and up under
the hoopah first. then shabi and his parents. everyone clapped. then my
parents led jennie to the start of the aisle. more clapping as shabi
walked to greet her and put her veil down. the ceremony itself was
pretty much all in hebrew, with myself, my brother, and my parents
reading a few translations. we didn't really know what was going on,
and when something was said to us in hebrew, we just gave a blank stare
until it was translated. "psst, david, give them the ring" and so on.

the ring was placed on jennie's index finger. shabi stomped on the
glass. Mazel tov, they were married!! we all hugged each other in
congratulations, and after getting in two hugs, i suddenly noticed that
the hoopah had been swarmed by the 200 plus guests. everyone was coming
up to hug and kiss and congratulate and be blessed my the bride and
groom!. it was chaos!! strangers and new extended family all wishing us
mazel tov. how wonderful!

then the real party began. we all went indoors to the tables and dance
floor. tons of food was on the tables, as well as bottles of water,
juice, wine and a bottle of vodka on each table. after a little while,
jennie and shabi entered. the room erupted in cheering and clapping and
everyone flooded the dance floor. instant insanity! the girls gathered
around jennie and the boys around shabi. each group was cheering and
spinning and grabbing hands and dancing in circles. jennie and shabi
were lifted on chairs, up! up! up! so much happiness bursting from
everyone. not that subdued happiness of weddings back home, but
vibrant, vocal, unrestrained happiness like i've never seen. we danced
and danced, rushing in circles of the hora, everyone twirling and
laughing. joy joy joy! no time to eat or drink, everyone was too busy

there was a ridiculous amount of food. the appetizers before the
ceremony, appetizers indoors, followed by a first course, then a main
course, then desserts. it wasn't a formal sit down dinner. food was
just placed on the tables, and you alternated between eating and
dancing. i really only got about 5 minutes of sitting time before being
beckoned back onto the dance floor. and i happily obliged.

so that was the wedding. constant dancing, laughing, eating, drinking,
and exhilaration that wouldn't allow me to stop smiling. it was so
festive, even the language barrier didn't matter. it was by far the
best wedding i've ever been to. even now as i think back to it, i feel
this overwhelming love wash over me.

that is how you have a wedding. that is how you celebrate love!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

catching up

i'm back, and i realized that although i posted a few notes on facebook, i never copied them here. and because i know some people are blog readers over facebook, i am going to add it here too. so here are the few notes that accumulated over the last month.

June 8: Israel - desert, dun, guns & boobs
shalom everyone! it's only been a couple of days but already winnipeg
seems so long ago and far away. everything has been amazing so far.
here's the summary:

arrived to glaring sun and 38 degree weather, woohoo!

we've spent some time with shabi's family, who were so wonderfully
hospitable. when we arrived they had bottles of juice, water and
platters of fresh fruit and cakes for us. we also had shabbat dinner
with them which was a great experience. his parents don't speak
english, but with all the smiles and kisses and handshakes, we all felt
welcomed to the family.

yesterday was a busy day. we went on a hike through desert mountains in
about 40 degree heat. luckily there was a beautiful waterfall and pool
to swim and cool off in. Absolutely stunning! it was pretty
awe-inspiring standing atop this jagged cliff, rust coloured mountains
behind us, the dead sea stretched out below and the dry desert breeze
gently blowing past.

after a lunch of challah and hummus, we headed down to the dead sea to
cool ourselves. the rocks that line the shore have a crystalline
coating of salt, at least an inch thick. everyone knows that you float
in the dead sea, but experiencing it is truly something else. i mean,
it's not just that you float, it's an effort to get your legs beneath
you! so cool, just bobbing along. and the water is so oily you can see
swirls in the sunlight. we found a good spot to dig up the coveted dead
sea mud and smeared it all over ourselves. we were caked from neck to
toe, mud monsters!! fun fun :)

anyhoo, i'll wrap this up now. plenty more for other days. oh, a couple
of other observations. it's odd going through metal detectors and
having your bag searched just to go into a mall. and seeing soldiers
with huge machine guns everywhere from malls to cafes to the waterfalls
(yep, dude with nothing more than his swim trunks and gun). and
finally, all the girls in israel have huge boobs. i don't feel special
at all, haha!

June 11 - and also...
a few other things i thought were worth mentioning:
unisex bathrooms seem quite popular. i wasn't sure what was going on at
first when there was only one door with a "0" on it. luckily no urinals
out in the open
most restaurants have guards at the doors. when your bill comes there are an extra few shekels for security fee.
nobody jay walks here!
that's it for now, more sightseeing and wedding stuff to come.

June 13 - the mikvah
(i know this is a long one, but it was too incredible an evening to skimp on words. please continue...)

the mikvah is a jewish tradition where the bride-to-be goes through a
spiritual purification process. i've never been to one, so the whole
thing was new to me. what a great experience!

jennie was given a whole big basket of toiletries because everything to
be used for the cleansing is supposed to be new. she was also given
some new pjs and clothes and shoes to wear after the mikvah (all in
white). the room where it was all kept was strewn with dried rose

my mom, shabi's mom and myself escorted jennie to the mikvah. the drive
there we had georgian music blasting away and shabi's aunt who was
driving us was clapping and singing and swirling her arms to the music.
when we pulled up a group of women on the street realized we were on
our way to a mikvah and they all rushed up to jennie to congratulate
her and to be blessed by her. brides are considered purer and closer to
god, and therefore people like to be blessed by them. it was very cool.

inside jennie was shown her private room where she was to shower, brush
her teeth, trim her nails, etc etc. basically give herself a head to
toe deep clean. after about an hour or so, she goes to the ritual bath.
it is only her and the woman who oversees it and approves it. she steps
in to a small pool, dunks herself underwater, says a blessing and dunks
twice more.

during all this, my mom and i waited, members of shabi's family showing
up (all women) as well. when she was finished, jennie walked out, wet
haired, all shiny and clean and glowing, dressed in white satin pyjamas
and white flip flops. all the women shouted and cheered; we threw candy
at her and placed a flowered wreath on her head. babies were placed in
her arms and all the women went up for kisses and blessings as they
clapped and sang and danced. so much joy! my mom leaned over to me and
said "it's like we're experiencing a different culture". "yeah," i
replied, "and it's ours."

everyone then made their way to shabi's aunt's house for the party, mom
and i escorting jennie back again. inside the house they had lively
georgian music cranked up, and everyone was dancing. it was all
georgian style with the hands and arms twisting and people joining
hands, turning about and laughing.

and the food. holy shit, the food! they were actually piling plates on
top of other plates. breads, cheese, olives, blintzes, pastries stuffed
with various things, lasagnas, pizzas and probably things i'm
forgetting. then came the desserts. cakes and meringues and chocolate
nut clusters and cream fillled pastries and profiteroles and bowls and
plates of cherries, figs, fruit fruit fruit and so many other things!
the most amazing thing about this feast was that it was all homemade.
ALL of it.

it was one of the happiest, most festive parties i've been to. i can't even imagine what the wedding will be like!

okay, i'll actually give you a break and add the rest later!
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