Tags: personal



It has been a month since we returned from our long-awaited trip to Israel.  It was amazing.  Check out umom_ne_poniat's post about our adventures in Haifa on our first day after arriving in Israel.  Don't know if I'll get around to putting it all in writing myself, though I should probably do it just to make sure I remember exactly how our trip went and what we did... until we get to go there again.
This photo was taken from one of the many observation points in Haifa, which sits on the steep Mount Carmel.

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Через неделю уезжаем в Израиль.  На две недели.  Наконец.  УРА!
We will greet the New Year 7 hours earlier than usual - because we will be in Israel!  Our two-week trip will include visiting with relatives and lots of sightseeing.  Not sure what to expect, but I know it will be amazing.
pink and yellow

neo-Nazis in Israel

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Scenario B

Thanks to all who commented on Scenario A

Last week I was about to pull out of the parking lot at the end of the day when I noticed a piece of paper stuck under the windshield wipers.  I got out of the car and read the note, which informed me that someone was very sorry about scratching my car and gave their phone number.  The scratch was on the passenger side and I may have gone a few more days without even noticing it.  I called the number and the woman began by saying "Thanks so much for calling me back..."    Later that day her insurance company called me and set me up to get repairs and a rental car, fast and easy.  Everyone I talked to was very surprised that someone actually let me know that they scratched my car when I wasn't there and had their insurance take care of everything.  It is so nice to know that there are honest people out there and especially nice that when someone scratched my car it was actually one of the honest people.

This really made me think about what I would do in this situation.  I would probably leave a note, though my desire to be honest and not make the other person pay for my mistake will be nearly overpowered by my desire to avoid an increased insurance premium.  Guess sometimes being honest can be expensive.

Scenario A

You are on your way for an afternoon meeting. As you pull out of the parking lot near your office you scratch the car in the adjacent parking spot. Do you just drive off? Or do you leave a note for the owner of the damaged car with your phone number letting them know what happened?

PS: It's a large office building with hundreds of people from different offices, so you probably don't know whose car it is.
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SOC Rovers

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I have always thought that it would be really fun to join a marching band, to be a part of the energetic and positive music that almost makes you want to dance...  Not to mention the excitement of performing in front of others and opportunity to share the experience with others in the group and maybe even make friends.  I never participated in a marching band because the only instrument that I (sort of) play is piano, but I always enjoyed watching them play.  One time I even cut school when I was a senior to go watch the St. Patrick's Day parade in Manhattan (even though I was a goody two-shoes and never cut class).  Over time the idea of joining a marching band has become one of the many things that would have been nice to do, but they simply were not meant to be.  That list has so many significant items that adding "being in a marching band" was very easy...

It also turned out to be remarkably easy to join a local marching band a few months ago!  It is a rather unusual group that does not sound or look like a typical marching band.  The best thing about it -- I could join the group without knowing how to play any instruments by being part of the color guard!  With some practice I learned how to spin a flag (without hitting self or others) and have since performed several times.  The best show so far was a parade that took place last weekend during a large festival in downtown Durham.  I actually marched in a parade for the first time ever!!!!!  It was an amazing experience and I had a great time.  Our performance was featured on a local music blog.  There are also photos from the parade here and here

home sweet home

A few days ago [info]Gleb and I returned from a 2 week vacation in NYC.  Spent a lot of time with family and friends, did some sightseeing and spent a weekend in Boston.  It was great to actually spend more than 3 or 4 days in NY and not be in a constant rush to make sure we see everyone we want and have to see.  Now I'm realizing that 2 weeks was a pretty long time to be away from the daily routine, but I expect that everything will be back to normal by the end of the long holiday weekend.

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Compared to these adventures, the drive back to NC was relatively uneventful.  The weird thing was driving into NC and getting excited about being almost home.  Wait a minute, since when does "almost home" look like this?  Almost home is supposed to look like the somber brick towers of Co-op City in the Bronx or the gigantic and yet graceful Verrazano bridge.  When we saw the "Welcome to North Carolina" sign we knew we were almost home, but the highway was cutting through fields and rural towns.  Driving through the half-empty highways in Durham and Chapel Hill the sights became more familiar and almost welcoming.  And in a few years we will have yet another city to call home.

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Today was the long-awaited opening day of Carrboro Farmer's Market.  Definitely one of the perks of living here, it's the place to buy locally grown produce at reasonable prices in a great atmosphere from the people who actually grow the stuff.  In addition to seasonal produce, there are also meats, cheeses, jams, fresh flowers, homemade pies, and all sorts of other fun things that we rarely buy.  We go there for the fresh veggies and herbs.  All sorts of delicious tomatoes (pink, red, gold, "ugly"), fresh basil (chopped and eaten with said tomatoes and olive oil....mmmm), many varieties of hot peppers (Gleb's favorite, of course), crunchy cucumbers, sweet lettuce, arugula, eggplant, zucchini, squash, string beans, not to mention the items that we just pass by.  The produce costs roughly as much as it does at the supermarket or a little less, but the quality is infinitely better, not to mention the lovely outdoor space filled with relaxed people of all ages enjoying the morning.  And then there is the method: first make one round of the market to check out the morning's selection and look for the best prices, then make a second round buying enough to last through the week, perhaps pausing to unload some of the heavy purchases into the car before continuing the shopping spree.

This morning I arrived eager to spend, but the initial walk-through brought me back to the reality that this is a seasonal market.  The most common type of items that was offered was plants -- parsley, chives, thyme, lettuce, spinach, etc., all ready to be replanted in a container of your choice, but not one fresh bunch ready to be washed and tossed in a salad.  I'm not planning to grow anything, not only because of the hassle, but also because our balcony is almost completely shaded.  (And no, it would not have been worth it to buy the plant and just consume the edible parts of it.)  I ended up buying around 6lb of tomatoes, then making a few more circles hoping to find something, anything?  I ended up getting a dozen free-range eggs, which was out of character since we haven't bought eggs for months.  Then I finally went home and turned the modest purchase into a farmer's-market-fresh breakfast.  A delicious start to the weekend! 

Here is to the end of winter and to patience in welcoming the summer...