Monday, June 6, 2011

Swirling Thoughts #201 – spring cleaning

Seven weeks and a few sandstorms since Pesach, Shavuot is upon us and another round of pre-holiday cleaning begun. Not the kind of pre-Pesach cleaning that causes an entire country to run short on paper towels, but more the, ‘oh, it’s been almost two months since I moved my Mai Eden machine’ kind of cleaning.

And for me, some switch has been tripped in my brain (I wish I knew how to trip that switch on purpose) which has caused me to do things like sift through the ‘TO DO’ list on my Blackberry. The TO DO list which, until yesterday, still contained such tasks as ‘Register Rosie for Gan’ and ‘Rosh Hashanah Menu’.

There were some tasks I didn’t recognize
For example:
Seven Wagon With Stove
I’m not sure if this is a car reference or a camping concept.

Others I recognized and was ready to delete
For example:
Beytza Reka
I kept this for a really long time, thinking it would help me order a soft-boiled egg. Until I actually tried to order a soft-boiled egg.

When you go into an Israeli restaurant (or anywhere in Israel), you have to accept that there will be something you want and someone to tell you that you really don’t want that thing.
For example:
I’d like some ice for my drink.
Your drink is cold enough.
Can I get ice?
We are out of ice.

Ani rotza lehazmin beytza reka. (I would like to order a soft-boiled egg.)
Ayin Hafook? (Over Easy?)
Lo! Beytza Reka! (No! Soft Boiled egg!)
Beytza b’mayim? (Egg cooked in water?)
Hmmm. Sort of.
Im haklifa. (With the shell.)
Lo. Blee haklifa. (No. Without the shell.)
Bob interrupted.
I think they mean poached egg.
Mevushal b’mayim im haklifa l’meshek shalosh dakot! (Boil in water with the shell for three minutes!)
Ani tzareeka livdok. (I must to check).
We were in the Café in Wolfson Tower – a residence popular among American retirees. I wondered to Bob how a restaurant catering mainly to a 70+ population could not know about soft-boiled eggs. The waitress returned.
Hem lo maskimim. (They do not agree.)
Hem lo yecholim la’asot et zeh? (They can’t do it?)
Yecholim aval lo maskimim. Ein efsheroot. (They can but they do not agree. There is no possibility.)
I actually went through this routine in a few restaurants before I just gave up and started ordering my eggs poached.

There were tasks I have yet to accomplish
For example:
Ani Ohev Song
This one I actually remember – there was a cute song on the radio with a guy (or girl?) singing about how they love this and they love that. I want to find it and buy it but I don’t know how to find and buy music in Israel. So for now, it stays on my TO DO list.

Hagiga B’Snuker
This is an Israeli movie my friend Yigal told me to watch. I actually know where to find it – there’s a movie guy in the shuk – I just have to remember to go there when I’m in the shuk! Somehow between buying lettuce, halva, meat and pickles, it never occurs to me to go looking for movies. Still on the list.

Hayiti B’Shok!
This is an expression in Hebrew that means (you’ll never believe it), I was in shock. This was on my task list to remind me that one day I want to post about all the English words that have made their way into the Hebrew. Apparently before the Anglo influence, Israeli’s did not go on dates (dayt), have perspective (perspectiva), or be specific (spetzifi). What surprises me more are the words that DO NOT mean what they sound like in English. For example, yeediot is not idiot and ananas is not bananas.
On our brief Netanya get-away (to the prison/hotel with soft robes but no pool access) we were given the most delicious chocolate rations. I have big plans to procure more of this chocolate some day.

And then there were the tidbits which were intended for blogging but just never made it
Like the Cellcom conversation.
Once a week I have this conversation (in Hebrew) with Cellcom (the Israeli cell phone service provider we chose one fateful day…)
Hi, this is Cellcom. Can I speak with Robert.
Robert cannot speak but I am his wife. I will speak for him.
We want to *something something something*.
Can you say it again? Slowly?
We want to *something something something* monthly bill.
Is there a problem?
No! No problem!
Are you offering me gifts?
Yes! Gifts!
Robert does not want gifts.
What are you talking about???
No gifts!
Are you sure?
I am sure!

I stopped asking them to stop calling. Apparently there is no ‘do not call list’ in Israel. I look at it as an opportunity to practice my Hebrew. Each week I get further and further into the conversation before I stop it cold with the “Problem or gifts?” question.

I guess I can take Cellcom conversation off my TO DO list now.

Oh, yeah. And this guy. Eggplant Gumby. I've been meaning to post him for a while. He's just been sitting on my Blackberry waiting.

Hag Sameah!


  1. Hey there- enjoying your blog! Wanted to let you know they have family tours at that Ornat chocolate factory you like. We visited over chanuka. They just don't let in kids under 5 unless you are pushy (they didn't let my little one in but another family just took their toddler and didn't ask any questions...) Anyhow the kids had fun and made chocolate balls afterward. It's right next to the roladin bakery- they also does tours and baking classes for kids for a full calorie day.
    See you soon, pnina

  2. That song you liked is from the classic children's album "The Sixteenth Lamb" (highly recommended):

  3. i love chocolate ( and now i know where to get the chocolate! thanks ladies!!!