Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Show and Tell

Thank-you for being here and reading my stuff! Everyone who has visited my blog and commented or thought about commenting has been part of my support team that I could not have continued this writing journey without.. I participated in NanoWrimo project this November (, and the concept is to get 50,000 words of novel completed in one month. Things were looking really dubious for this procrastinator, but somehow I got it together after Thanksgiving.. Here is an exerpt from "Runover Dogs"..

It was a warm, late summer night with a light wind blowing through the campus trees. Noa exited her dorm and saw her friend Shoshanna sitting on some steps. 'I'm waiting for Smadar to bring my pizza.' Noa wanted to avoid the subject of classes, because Shoshanna would lay into her for not taking it seriously. She wasn't in any mood to be lectured, so she asked her friend how the linguistics classes were going. 'They taught us about bilabial fricatives. Do you know where your bilabial fricative is, Noa?' 'Not really-but I bet YOU do!' Shoshanna started laughing and Noa could only imagine what her friend was thinking. 'You coming with me to Ima's tomorrow?' Ima was their mutual friend Tsivia's mom. They met Tsivia on the kibbutz. She was a tall, friendly girl with dirty blonde Shirley Temple curls, who played the guitar, loved Suzanne Vega- and was from an orthodox family living outside of Haifa. Shoshanna would go home with her every Shabbat to spend with her family. They had 5 biological daughters, and 3 adopted ones. The goal was to have them all married off eventually. Shoshanna, being over 30 years old, was their biggest challenge. She was a large woman, and this was an unusual state of being for this culture. So with those two marks against her, age and girth, the matchmaker had to dig deep to find a Chattan for her. She came back one Shabbat and announced to Noa that she wasn't going back to the Dan's again. What happened? They fixed her up with a divorcee, she was sitting down at a table at the restaurant where they had agreed to meet at. This short bearded man with a limp walks up to her and asks if she is waiting for someone. She wasn't 100% sure he was talking to her because he had a lazy eye which was looking in an entirely diffent direction. She followed its path and saw it led to a little old man dining alone, and decided he must be speaking to her. Now she wasn't picky. The lazy eye, the one leg being shorter than the other-these things didn't bother her. But wasn't it considered in poor taste to talk about sex on the first date? Wasn't this suppossed to be a religious man? It was too much for her, and she needed a break. Smadar appeared with a slice of pizza on a plate in either hand. She was always smiling, and she had short hair and glasses and reminded Noa of a Weeble Wobble. She tripped and dropped a slice of pizza. It fell face down. 'Your pizza fell, Shoshanna!' Noa started cracking up. 'Why was that Shoshanna's slice?' 'Cause I put garlic salt on the other one.' The girls ate their pizza quietly and Noa reminisced about her shidduck last year at the yeshiva. She shuttered at the thought, and would rather die of desperate loneliness than have to relive that time. Shoshanna announces she has to get to her linguistics class. 'Watch out for flying bilabial fricatives,' Noa warns her. Smadar and Noa are sitting next to each other. There's an awkward silence, where it suddenly becomes apparent that they've never had a need to hang out together before. 'I'm going downstairs to the Moadone, do you want to come?' Noa asks. 'Iv'e never been there. Sure, I'll come.' The moadone is a bomb shelter in one of the dorm buildings converted to a late night hangout with snacks and music. Noa was intrigued with Chaim the slender senior sociology student who often worked there. He was Persian, and had mocha skin and light blue eyes. It was an unnerving combination. They got there, and as usual, there were mostly Americans hanging out. There was one Israeli girl in the middle of a group of Americans talking loudly about some bakery in a nearby neighborhood. They only baked breads and rolls, and if you came by very early in the morning, you could buy them fresh out of the ovens. Noa said she'd like to go, and before they knew it, a small group had planned to go that very morning. Noa went back to her table to get her soda. Chaim was sitting there staring at her. 'Where are you all going?' 'To get fresh bread at 5 am at the bakery. Why don't you come with us?' He made that clicking sound with his mouth that Israelis make to indicate negative. 'Why would I do that? I have fresh bread in my apartment.' Israelis were always so practical and lacking in that childlike sense of adventure that travelling Americans often had. 'But it's not warm!' Noa protested. 'Why don't you come over and I'll warm it up for you?' he said with a completely serious look on his face. Noa sensed something sinister about this man. How could you trust someone who didn't think running around Ramat Gan at 5 am in search of fresh hot bread was fun? It was probably those strange blue eyes framed by the brown skin. No, she thanked him, she's getting her hot bread the right way. 'As you wish,' he said coolly, and slunk off somewhere. She felt a coldness to the air around him, and she suddenly felt a very creepy feeling. She was so glad she was not planning on going to Chaim's house to eat his bread. She rejoined the lighter group of Americans plus Tamar the token Israeli girl. They were getting their jackets on and taking off to get the best falafel in Tel Aviv. That bread would not be ready for another six hours, and that was too long to go without eating. They waited for the #6 bus. Noa and Tamar started talking about astrology, and they realized they both had the same thick red book, 'Love Signs', by Linda Goodman. Tamar switched to Hebrew now, as she got more excited and talked faster and faster. Noa's brain raced to understand everthing this girl was saying. She could feel her Hebrew improving. The bus finally arrived, and the group sauntered on in. Before she knew it, Noa was teaching Tamar a chidren's song she had learned from Sam as a child. Tamar was thrilled to learn it. And why not? Cooka Burra was most definitely not part of a typical Israeli child's repertoire of songs. All of a sudden Tamar grabbed the string to indicate this was their stop. 'Rega! Anachnu tzricheem laredet, bavakasha!' and the bus driver pulled over. Out the group went. They were dropped off on a dark street. Tamar led, and everyone followed like baby ducklings. In the distance was the light of the little falafel stand. A 45 minute bus ride for this? Wait, Tamar assurred, you won't regret it. A little falafel guy looked weary but pleased to see this big group of customers so late at night. Tamar showed them what to do. She paid her 2 shekels and was given a pita bread with 3 hot falafel balls inside. She ate one to make more room for the salads. Then she proceeded to pile on the goods. Mini pickled eggplant, fresh baba gannouj. Sauerkraut and even french fries were fair game for this delectable treat. After everyone loaded their pitas, the group got down to the business of savoring their caches. Happiness was in the air. All agreed that this was the best falafel place in Tell Aviv. Since the buses only ran once an hour, the group headed back to the bus stop to wait for the return bus. Noa and Tamar, at 2 am, started singing Cooka Burra as a round. The others were too tired to join in. The bus finally arrived, the gang piled on. Tamar had a bus ticket. 'Pa-amaaim,' she told the bus driver, translated as 'double' meaning she was also paying for Noa's fare. Smadar wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to practice Hebrew and get a free bus ride at the same time, so she entered the bus and said 'Shloshaaim,' to the driver, translated as 'three times', eventhough that word did not exist in the Hebrew language. The ride was long, and everyone fell asleep. 'Bar Ilan!' the bus driver yelled out, not wanting to take these kids back to the central bus station. They groggily woke up and exited the bus. Tamar announced it was a perfect time to walk to the bakery. A few people were too tired and went back to the dorms. Tamar, Noa, Smadar and Daniel were the only takers. It was getting cold and the sky was overcast so there was an eery lightness to this 4 am night. They walked through some very religious neighborhoods, and saw an occasional chasid walking the street. They wondered what anyone would be doing up at this hour? The neighborhoods started getting more and more beat up looking, until finally they arrived on the block of the bakery. The main door was the size of a wall, and it was slid open allowing a good view of the operation. Noa peeked in . She saw some humongous ovens that looked pre-WWII. It was very hot in there. All of a sudden, an old man with a scaly red face and stringy white hair came out. Noa was alone with him, as her 3 friends already entered to find their precious bread. The man looked like he had come out to smoke a cigarette, but he had none. Noa felt strange, as he was standing very close to her and staring at her. She couldn't stand it anymore, and had to break the silence. 'It must be hard to work so early in the morming.' 'Oh yes,' he answered in a high-pitched hollow voice, 'Iv'e been here all night. It's very hard. Sometimes I bleed.' Bleed? That's pretty severe. Why would someone bleed while making bread? 'Here, do you want me to show you?' And the man started to unbutton his pants. 'No, thanks anyway,' Noa turned to find her friends, and just then they came out. She was so happy to see them. Tamar said it was very scary inside, but apparently not as scary as it had been outside. After Noa told of her creepy experience with the bleeding man, Tamar conceeded, 'It's really a gross place, but the bread is so good, I'd still come back.' Noa wasn't so sure any bread was worth forced viewings of bleeding ulcers. She did love the bread though. She ripped another piece of crusty bread from Tamar's bag. Nothing like steaming hot, freshly baked bread on a freezing Tel Aviv morning.
PS Yay!! I submitted my draft to nano for final word count: 50,943! I did it!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Avoiding nanoing, avoiding it all..

George Costanza has nothing on me, as I sit typing on an abandoned workstation computer. I am at my friend's job today and tomorrow, she invited me, and I thought it would be inspiring. The building is in a great spot near Central Park, perfect views of prewar architectural detailing visible from every window. I've been entrusted with the company door codes, invited to join in on the holiday pies, and introduced to the big boss and several cheerful co-workers. I can barely contain my mirth as I help myself to the break room amenities. I feel like screaming out, 'I AM A CHARLATAN! I'M NOT EVEN ON PAYROLL!!' but everyone seems content with my presence. I wonder what would happen if I kept showing up for work, day after day? Would I be placed on payroll by default? This computer was running slow, so I joked with my friend Sandra, 'Do you guys have an IT person? I can't get any work done like this..' She started dialing his extension.. 'No, I was kidding.. ' The rain just let up.. Sandra and I will be heading out for our afternoon run in the park soon.. I'm trying to remember why I found office life so painful before, this is really a hoot..

Saturday, November 03, 2007

From the annals of intuitive living..

Bless my friend who asks me on a regular basis how my intuitive living is going.. Poor soul is haunted by the same office existence that I once was shackled to.. These photos are dedicated to her, taken at the world's best pumpkin carving contest.. My entry won a ribbon.. First place for 'Adult Scene'.. ?