Sunday, December 27, 2009
Many documentaries were broadcast to mark the anniversary and I watched one describing the fall of the Berlin Wall. One little story in this documentary made a big impression on me. It was about an East German lady in her fifties, working for the local ice cream factory. Apparently, there was a constant ice cream shortage in East Germany and the entire quantity this factory produced was always sold in an instant. When western goods started to be sold in eastern shops, people stopped buying eastern products, among them ice cream. After the eastern ice cream could not be sold, the shopkeeper asked the factory to take its products back. This lady came and tried to convince clients to buy her factory's ice cream by explaining that otherwise the factory will be closed down and the workers will become unemployed. The clients couldn't care less. One client even replied that he was fed up with this ice cream for 40 years while it was the only one available and now he was taking his revenge. This woman disposed the refrigerator and its contents. A few month later the factory closed down and she was unemployed.
ostalgie", has been coined for the phenomenon.
These days people are buying agricultural products from local farms, for helping them stay in business and for saving transportation carbon dioxide, and non-profits help the unemployed, although volunteering and civil society are much weaker in the east than the west.
Initial large pendulum swings are human and understandable, but after 20 years, the pendulum motion has slowed down, swings are more moderate.
Friday, December 25, 2009
I hope he applies more logic to his IDF work, otherwise this country is in real danger.
For the logically challenged: if he already stands on the other side of the door, he is outside, no need to open the door.
Happy ending: He called his friend, who happened to be in the neighborhood walking his dog, threw the key from the balcony and the friend came up and released him.
Additions to this post after Tom's comments:
Disclosure: Of course I understood what he meant at the time, he wished he could have got out without his backpack, stand on the other side of the door, open it and then take his stuff. I think it's still funny and we both shared a laugh on this little episode.
Full disclosure: Every mom would like to have a son like Tom, but only I, the luckiest mom on Earth, has the privilege of having him. And I thank God every day for it. I do.(Now I embarrassed him).
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
"Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas." - Marie Curie
Saturday, November 28, 2009
You know those shampoo/dye ads with women's soft, shiny yet strong hair?. Now imagine one such hair in your soup and...fishing it out in disgust. Same hair, different place.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Recently I've incidentally discovered the meaning of social anxiety. Someone I know wrote she suffers from it and I looked it up. My next logical step was to categorize it to file it in my mind. Hence my social theory about coping with uncertainty. If I understand correctly, person suffering from social anxiety abstains from communicating rather than facing the other party's anticipated negative attitude. They avoid uncertainty (the other party's reaction), because they presume it to be judgmental and basically negative in nature.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The essential elements of my daily survival are hair cream, dental floss and optalgin (pain killer for my headaches). And my glasses, of course. Without them the world is a moving collection of colored patches. A hairbrush and water spray are welcome too. My Fa deodorant, creams for various body parts, and my perfume, Happy, complete the list. Oh, and also soaps (3 types), shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and paste, scissors,
Friday, October 2, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
The weather can be pretty tricky. It changes in a matter of minutes from sunny to snowy and back to sunny again. This is exactly what happened to us on the Chester Lake trail. Above treeline, it can get very windy. Near Takakkaw falls, the mist turns the air very cool and walking on 300m of ice of the Athabasca glacier definitely warrants wearing those thermal undies.
Wildlife in the Canadian Rockies is abundant. The most widespread species is the mosquito. (Still haven't figured out how the little beasts got under my clothes.) We also spotted deer, caribou, elk, coyote, bear, hoary marmot, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, Canadian geese, different species of squirrel and some more I haven't been introduced to. For us city dwellers, observing wildlife is really cool, but the 'natives' don't appreciate the large herbivores eating their flowers and the bears collecting fruit from under the trees in their yards. Don't get close to big mammals and they won't bother you.
Travelling with Friends
Travelling with friends can be fun but also challenging, especially if you want to remain friends after the trip. We quickly learn the 'rough spots' and adjust (after getting yelled at in the middle of pouring rain). The central issue is how much togetherness is right for the group. Should we walk together on the trail, should we all dine together? As Dan planned the program, I made the lodging reservations and Peter did most of the driving, we also absorb all the complaints. The praises too.
Things to do
Most days we are out on the trail, walking. While in Jasper, the guys go on a half-day fishing trip on Malign lake and the girls go shopping. After the first shop (pricey indian art) I lose interest and find myself a chic cafe. I sip a decaf capuccino and devour a brownie. I feel on the top of the world.
Back to Calgary
On the highway back to Calgary, we decide to stop next to a deserted house to strech out a bit. 3 kids on bikes and a dog approach, but stop at a distance. A few minutes later, a man comes in a white van and questions us, then tells us we are in an Indian reservation and threatens to call the police.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I am thinking of visiting the death camps in Poland around Passover. Just feel every Jew must go there once. Some read books, some watch movies and some feel they have to physically touch the remnants of evil. The plans of Auschwitz have been recently found and handed to the Israeli PM during his visit to Germany.
The residency issue is not over. Now I'm facing a series a emails on behalf of my acquaintance requesting me to donate money to pay his lawyer. After some soul searching, a gut feeling takes over me. I'd rather have a [criminal] Jew as a citizen than a honest gentile.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Well, life proved stronger than any planning. Following the hate attack at the Tel Aviv gay center a week ago, I was one of 25,000 people who demonstrated yesterday in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv. As I circulated among the protesters, I overheard a woman asking about the meaning of a 'closet' and a youngster saying he's there with his lesbian aunt. Everybody looked straight into my eyes (usual Israeli behavior) as if they were trying to figure out my ties to the GLBT community. Or at least so I felt.
One sign said 'My son is gay, so what?' and another 'Today they hate gays, tomorrow they hate you'. This is probably the reason many came to demonstrate. They realized hatred has only a beginning, but no end. Today they hate gays, tomorrow they'll hate fat people, or bald people or any group you can imagine.
After a few speeches, I went to find some icecream. I'm not a serious protester. Yet.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
After two nerve wrecking weeks, my employer fired 10% of its workforce and stripped the 'lucky' rest of 20-25% of their income. I won't be working every other Sunday. Yes, I have plans: from firing the cleaning lady and cleaning my place, through lunching with friends, making hairdresser appointments, touring around to volunteering. Some friends suggested learning French, some think I should find another income creating activity. Decisions, decisions.
Have advice? Comment on this post.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
My Berger (that's my maiden name) grandparents lived in the small Hungarian village of Szentjobb in today's Romania. They were a traditional Jewish family with 8 children, a village shop and a soda water filling station. My aunt Ester survived Auschwitz and my father survived labor and prisoner camps. My other grandparents were luckily on the right side of the border, and after just one week of German-Hungarian occupation (during which they already implemented anti-Jewish laws), the Russians liberated their town (looking for watches to steal and women to rape).
My parents married late and I was a late and only child. They had no energy for more. My husband's story is similar. He is also a late and only child for the same reason. Our children have no cousins. I could have had a large happy family, to be loved by and lean on.
The murdered third of the Jewish people could have bettered the world. They won't compose music, write literature, win Nobel prizes for outstanding scientific achievements, raise new generations of followers. Their potential contribution is lost forever.