Monday, July 31, 2006

No, something is very wrong here, even more than usual.
No, Kofi Annan is the last person in the world with the right to tell us what to do. Not after his role in Rwanda and other African disasters, not to mention his part in the Oil for Food scandal with Iraq.
And NO, I am not convinced that we hit Kfar Kana again. The timing is suspect. 10 years to the day? We have admitted that we bombed in the area, but that was a good 8 hours before the building went down. Taking into account that the hizzbullies refused to let people leave the area and kept them there at gun point, it would not surprise me one little bit if they blew the building themselves. They have proven time after time that their own people are expendable. They shoot katyushas from mosques so that we'll bomb them and then, they can cry to the world about how awful we are. They did the same thing last time in the same place. There was even a tape of a UN officer begging them to move the launcher and of the hizzbully aiming his pistol at the UN guy. And who is shooting at purely civilian residential areas and hitting hospitals? The hospital in Safad took a direct hit as did the psychiatric hospital near Acco. No, we are not wrong to continue to root these terrorists out.
No, we are not the bad guys here.This one is too important to lose and if Bush is the only leader of the so called civilized world to understand this, it doesn't surprise me a bit.Not that The UN, the French and the rest surprise me. They don't understand that they are next. A more deserving group for the hizzbullie's tender mercies I can't think of.
We had close to 90 of their 'harmless' katyushas hit the city today. You'd think the town was one huge army base, but it isn't. We are a city of around 24,000 civilians, 60% of whom have left for safer areas of the country. The rest of us are sitting it out at home enduring non stop shelling, sleep deprivation and crippling boredom because we can't go out. Never mind the economic issues.Those katyushas fall like rain here and, yes, it's damn scary.
No, it can not go on much longer, we have to put an end to it.
Ok, I've had my rant, and it's time to take Peg walkies and try to get some sleep. It's quiet at the moment, but it won't last and the echoing of the shells is enough to wake even me up!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


We used to have a shopping mall right in the center of town. My clinic and pharmacy were there. As of 0700, we don't. One of my cell phone regional branch offices was there too, and that's where the katyusha came in, through what was a glass roof!
Last night I decided enough was enough and moved back to my bed after 2 miserable nights on the recliner. Peg was not happy and thought he could convince me to go back to the Liberry-shelter by barking nonstop. It didn't work and I got a good nights sleep until the incoming set Peg to barking again. The very first thing I did was go to our morning news program where I was promptly greeted by pictures of the mall. I pulled these pics from Ynet, the interweb site of one of our largest newspapers. There were a few other hits around town but I only know where they didn't hit so far. They didn't hit Gimp House, and I'll be making a few calls to find out where they did hit in a while. But first, this has to post and Peg needs a quick walk.
I had planned to call my brother yesterday but Peg's non stop barking made talking on the phone impossible. I WILL call him and my son later today even if he's noisy.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


This is the link to the story ABC did from the big shelter in my neighborhood. It even shows a lot of the buildings around here. The guy standing next to the one with the wine cup is the very same Golan who was with me when the missile fell near the greenhouse last Wednesday. The gal talking is the neighbor who lives next door to Orna and all of them are members in good standing of the regular nightly ' neighborhood council meetings'
The ABC reporter wanted to a segment on me at home, but they never showed up. That's just fine.
Peg and I spent the night in Liberry again. That was absolutely the last time. Poor Peg just can't stand either the outgoing or incoming. Of course it doesn't help at all that we can't tell the difference any more like we used to. They both echo around the valley the same way.

Friday, July 28, 2006

They just don't want to stop, do they? I'm not spending another night in the shelter. I don't care if it's in the house. I'm going back to my own bed and what will be will be.We lost power for the second time since this started today, but it's back now. The light in the shelter works without power so that's good. I took advantage of the power being off to have a wee kip and woke up when it came back and came out here to post. I have a picture of the house that took a direct hit-30 meters away but it's a crap picture. There's a better one in the cell phone I left in the car. I'll go get it in bit. Oh dear, there was a direct hit on a shelter like mine in town, but I don't know where. It wasn't mine so don't get all upset! Fox is doing a pretty good job of reporting from town. I watched for a while and know exactly where he's broadcasting from.....Oh dear, the picture I thought I had in the phone is even worse than one at the local interweb site. I guess I could take the trash out, take Peg walkies and get another one. Yup, that's a plan! Be back soonish.....I hope! Yes!! I'm back with a TV crew hot on my tail. WABC want to interview in Gimp House. How coolies is that? I did get the picture of the bombed house and one of mine from the back side of that one. The first picture is where the katyusha went in. The third is of the mess it made on the ground floor and the second is of my house from the back side of that one. It's actually closer than it seems with the cell phone camera. I managed to get the order mixed up a bit. I think I'll add the one from the interweb site because it shows the mess on the top floor better.That's the first one. Ooof, it's so much easier on my big PC that it is on this lap top. Obviously you'll have to make my pics bigger to see anything. Sorry. The TV guys will be here any minute, so I'd better get things looking a bit less messy.


I've lived in Kiryat Shmonah since 1990 and gone through countless katyusha attacks, but nothing like yesterday. They fell like rain right in town. I wussed out and went into the shelter for the first time and even slept there with Peg. It's gotten so that neither of us can tell the difference between incoming and outgoing, and that's never happened before. Damn right it's scary!
For some odd reason, I forgot to post the incident in Safad with our fearless leader and gentleman, Shmaryah. We had just opened the Disco after leaving City Hall there, when the siren went off. My door was open but I can't get in without someone holding the stool, and it was in the back seat. Shmaryah jumped into his seat and there I was standing there staring at him and he was staring right back with a 'what are doing out there?' look on his face. The penny finally dropped and he got out to help me in. Fearless leader. Hah! All the way home he sat there with his hand on the door handle in a position to jump out if need be. Good thing we took the disco and I was driving. Not much rattles me when I'm behind the wheel. Oh, he is never going to live that down!
Of course he can retaliate with the story of me wussing out and staying in my shelter!
In his favor is the fact that he brought one of Peg's chains in from the ramp and attached it to an air filter cover in the shelter.
It's going to be a long long Shabbat in there! I just checked our local interweb site and there were a few hits very close to Gimp House, including our ex mayor's house which is maybe 100 meters (yards) away as the bird flies. I knew they were close. They've started up again and Peg is going nuts that I'm sitting out here typing. I'll post and go in with him!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I already wrote and posted this once, but it got lost, so I'll just do it again. This is for my 3 faithful readers.
I just rolled in from an inspection tour of town and a search for Shimon, my guy at Mass Rechush (remember these words because I'm not going to explain them every time I use them) Mass Recush is a property tax/insurance branch of our Income Tax office which in turn is under the authority of the Ministry of Finance. I worked for and with them in '98 so I know how things should work.
It used to work like this; the resident of a house damaged by a katyusha called the Mass Rechush office in their town and inspectors were sent to assess the damage. After the damaged was verified and assessed, the tenant and Mass Rechush signed a contract for payment to the contractor direct from Mass Rechush, the appropriate contractor was sent to do the work. The tenent didn't have to deal with the money aspect at all.
This time, the system has been changed drastically and if they don't change it pretty quickly things will get ugly. Now, instead of Mass Rechush being the central authority and coordination between the citizen and contractors, they are only assessing and approving the amount to be spent on repairs, and the tenent will have to pay the contractor directly. Contractors are already refusing to work under this system because they are afraid, and rightly so, that they'll never get paid. There are many people who have liens against their bank accounts which means that they will never see the money they get to pay for repairs because it will be snatched in favor of the lien. There's absolutely no way this can work.
We managed to track down my Mass Rechush guy and he agrees that it's insane, but there isn't much he can do from inside from system, so, I'll just have to take them on myself, if I survive this barrage. Geeze Louise, that last one was close! Ok, breathing back to normal now.
There are three people I know who can help with this. Two are MKs and one is a radio guy who just loves this stuff. I'll call them later.

After our trip to Safad, a short ambush at City Hall to try and catch Shimon from Mass Recush, I went to Amuka to pick up my XP, then, to get the rest of the M&Ms at that Kibbutz. When I got back to town, Shmaryah called to tell me he'd found Shimon and to go to where they were. I did, and we had a lovely reunion., and he promised that the minute they allow him to work with contractors, we'll be the first he calls.
Oh boy, are we getting hit. Shmaryah says the mall at the end of my street was hit and that's where one of the major supermarkets and pharmacy are. If it's a direct hit on the mall, people are injured, or worse. It's really insane.
Ok, time to post and get into bed with a notebook to plan my attack on the Finance Ministry! Don't worry, I'm fine.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Shmaryah worked his usual majic today and got the cable company to send someone to sort my cable-interweb woes. They just left and the lap top is up and running.I have no idea what they did, but it's working, so who cares?
The guy we were supposed to meet this morning in Safad isn't going to be there until around tomorrow, maybe, so there wasn't much sense in going out just for the Windows CD and M&Ms.One way or another, we'll track him down either later today or tomorrow.The morning and early afternoon have pretty well been used up with the computer/cable issues, so at least I was busy with that and didn't pay too much attention to the shelling. There were a lot of hits around town but none in town as far as I know.
Last night I tried to figure out how I feel about it all but couldn't come up with anything that made much sense.
I do know that I'm furious, upset, and a little scared.
Furious that the Hizzbullies started it and that our government let them have 6 years to get organized right under our noses. Then there are the people who still don't get it who are getting ever more voluble in demanding a cease fire and worse blaming the whole thing on us. Yeah, it is partly our fault for not paying attention, and worse, for being here at all. Sure, go right ahead and blame us. If there were no Jews in the world, everything would be just fine, wouldn't it? That would solve all the issues for everyone. Ya think?
Not by a long shot. Those Islamarodicals would still try to take overything, and not for the first time, just probably for the last time. You don't believe me? Just listen to the crazy in Iran. He's said it more times than anyone can count. He lumps us in with the rest of the west so, if we're gone, he's going to quit trying to make a nuke? Ya think?
We keep doing things to show that we want peace with our neighbors, the so called Palestinians but they refuse every offer we make and when we do what they want, and withraw from Gaza and leave every inch of Lebanon they rush to the peace table, rather than kidnap soldiers and shoot at us. Oh, sorry, I forgot for a minute that it's all our fault for just existing. Of course they are justified and all of our reactions are disproportionate. We should just put on our swim suits and start swimming west. How silly of me.
I'm upset because as usual, our government is making a hash of things. I'm not a general and never will be so I'll leave the critique of the war for those more qualified and focus on the state of things at the home front.Using our patented method of "it will be ok" the shelters are a mess. It drives me wild that the people who expect them to be spic and span can't be bothered to clean and maintain them theirselves. Granted some of the maintenance must be done by the authorities, but general cleaning and not stealing stuff like fans and mattresses can and should be done by the folks who use them. It also upsets me that so many people are simply ignored. There are several thousand people who stayed at home rather than go down to the unihabitable shelters or leave town. We are nonentities. Thankfully I don't need anything and am doing just fine, but lots of others aren't.
Our national past time of whining and crying to the press about how hard things also upsets me. Granted, it's not easy, but, hells bells, the more you complain the more it gets harder. Bitching just focuses it all the more. Uh, yeah, but this is my blog and as I don't focuse much on this stuff except for here, and never out loud, I think I'm a little entitled. Maybe not. I'll think on it later. I'm actually just fine and lack nothing, except quiet from the outgoings.
I'm scared that we might lose this one and if we do it will make for a very fast end to Israel. I'm also a bit scared of being injured, not of dying, mind you. I made my peace with that ages ago. I just think I have enough physical challenges to deal with without any more new ones.
So, other than that, how are things?
Fine, just fine. I have plenty to eat right here, a car parked, outside Peg for co
mpany, TV, interweb connection for now, and a few new books I've started to read. I also have a damned good army that is doing it's best to protect me. Nope, other than being stuck in the house, everything is just fine.
Just got an update from Shmaryah. He's up on his roof watching the forest fire just above his house burn it's way towards him. There were lots of hits in open spaces around town but nothing in town has been hit yet. The head Hizzbully promised to escalate and shoot at places south of Haifa.That doesn't sound like the best idea he's ever had.
It's time to write some emails.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Just after today's barrage, I clicked back to our news show and they had picture feed from Fox so I clicked over there to see if I could figure out where the building that got hit today is. All I could figure was the general area and until Shmaryah called a few minutes ago, I wasn't any the wiser. They said on the news that an important public building was hit. Bah! The Welfare building houses the most useless department in the city and it was only a near miss. Granted there's not an unbroken window in the place and the inside probably looks like the system they use to torture us! There have been tons of hits on the mountain slopes around town and there's a layer of smoke over everything. The phone keeps ringing with friends trying to convince me to leave town, or at least go to a shelter. No thank you. I'm staying right here. I didn't even go out for M&Ms today but Shmaryah promised to get me some tomorrow. Simon just stuck his head in and we're BBQing later with the usual suspects. This is the first time I've been stuck inside because of mobility issues. Back in 96 I was right out in the middle of it working 3 jobs simultaneously; my regular one at the hotel at night, with the government damage assessors and a private insurance adjuster. It's damn frustrating to be stuck inside with no good reason to be out doing things. I think I'll go look for a picture of the hit at the Welfare Office to post here. Someone should have one up.
Nope, not yet. All the local site has is a few shots of holes in the maine street through town and one of the fires on the hills just to the west. I'll post that one and skip the holes in the roads.
The picture was taken less than a block from my store. It's just a few meters straight up from the roundy in the picture. That smoke is very close to town. There are lot more wild fires along that ridge.


Kiryat Shmona hadn't taken may hits by katyushas before Sunday, then, we got hit hard. Yesterday I managed to get out for a while to get my last card of credit from the Post Office, buy a new electric toothbrush and pick up some stuff at my butchers. I also swung by our local book store which, needless to say, was closed.
Simon, my leg's husband's brother arrived home not long after I rolled in and we decided to hunt down M&Ms where the importer said they have them. I got ready to go and was waiting for Simon on the ramp. His uncle showed up on his way to the funeral of the local kid who was killed in the fighting and all of sudden there was a very loud boom that wasn't our artillery. Bet you didn't know I can run! It was a fairly close hit, that took out the power, and the 3 of us squeezed through my doorway and listened to the news for a while on the transistor Simon brought down. I don't have one yet, but will get one today. The store the importer said has M&Ms doesn't and that store they sent me doesn't have much of anything else either. Can you imagine a grocery store that doesn't have purple bags? I did pick up a few things there and then we went to mall across the road and checked a few stores there. No joy, but there was a Steimatzky's (book store) so, I bought a few new books. That's 1 mission accomplished.
On the way home, Golan, the other neighbor, called and said he's coming home today because he just can't stay away. He went to Tel Aviv for a few days and was miserable. Now we can get back to our nightly council meetings over the BBQ!
Orna (my legs) called a few minutes to report that someone stole one of my cell phones so I called the company, reported it, and had the line shut down. Thankfully I insured it ages ago and it will be replaced as soon as things open up again here. Who knows how long that will be? Orna has another cell phone on the business account, so that's ok!
Simon wandered in earlier and announced that he wants to go to Tiberius to visit his sister who is in Hospital there. I convinced to call and see how she's doing because there were a few hits not far from the hospital. She's doing fine and being released tomorrow so we don't have go there!
I think we will go where I bought my last stash of M&Ms a bit later; as in after I call them to ask if they have any left and what times they are open. But, first, I must take Peg out. Last night, just after the last katyusha for the day fell in town, he peed the floor. Poor baby. He knows the difference between out going and in coming.
I'm just fine, if a little shaky after two close misses. Being stuck at home is not fun, and time/interweb permitting, I'll pick up where I left off on the Tale Of The great American Trip!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Things finally got interesting up here yesterday. We got a nice barrage of katyushas in the morning. Two neighborhoods got hit, one, not far from I used to live, and the other one was close to a previous apartment too. Golan's(the neighbor) brother was just outside having a cigarette because he can't smoke inside with his father connected to oxygen, got a piece of shrapnel in the chest and all their windows were broken. It fell on a soccer field just across the street and he was the only one hurt, thankfully not badly. He just pulled it out, put some disinfectant and a bandaid on it and went back down for another smoke!
I spent the day cursing the interweb connection, watching my TV shows between news flashes, answering phone calls, and calling my brother. Robbie was there when I called and we had a nice chat.
I must find something to do today. Shmaryah and I might go to Safad to convince the guy who decides these things that he really wants us to do the replacement of the doors that were damaged by the rockets. He owes me big time, as he's the guy who sent me to hospital with the stroke in '98.
I just found out where there are M&Ms up here, and the closest store is in Afula, where Wednesday's adventure took place. At least now I know where to go to get them. I just can't go there alone because it's too much for me to get the wheely out, then back in the Disco, but I will find someone to go with later!
At least the search for M&Ms gives me something to work on while stuck in the house with the hinky interweb connection! I'll call Shmaryah now and tell him it's time to go. I'll update later, interweb connection allowing, which it isn't right now. Oh, am I going to have fun with the cable people when this over. The company evacuated all their employees in town and refuses to send anyone in to fix it. At least their TV and phones are working. If they weren't, it would be really bad.
Ok, Simon just wandered in and we are going to Afula in a few minutes. More later!

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Being the lazy gimp of the North, I didn't get much done yesterday. That not much did include washing the dishes, making a huge bowl of tuna salad, posting to both blogs when the interweb connection was good, watching hours of TV and thinking odd thoughts. The oddest of those thoughts is probably those about earthquakes and the constant bombardments up here. Artillery from us and Hizzbully missiles both cause the ground to shake, and as we sit smack dab on the Africa Syria fault I've been wondering if all this earth shaking will have any effect on the fault? I'm pretty sure there's no answer to that question now, but I do wonder. Not that I'm overly concerned about it at the moment. The war is of much more immediate concern. If we lose it, an earthquake really won't matter and we must win.
I'm starting to get restless again and am sort of planning a supply run to a large supermarket where they might have M&Ms. I'm out again and must resupply. If you are going to have an addiction, that's a reasonable one. The problem with it is that there is not one single store in town that sells them. The closest place is a kibbutz store about 30 miles from here and they only have the small bags. I'm going to call the importer tomorrow and ask him where I can fin the large bags without going all the way to Tel Aviv where I know they have them. It's not life and death, but, for me, it's a way to get my mind off the big stuff!
Another not exactly life and issue I'm obsessing about is the cable link to the interweb. It's still not good and just loves disconnecting at exactly the moment I want it. I might have a bit of a rant on that at the other blog later, after a nap.
Of course, I've managed to get myself back to a *night life* cycle. Night owlishness is not an easy affliction to live with unless you have a night job. I was in my element back when, but now I have to my natural inclination to night life and try to function in a world of "day livers" It's not fair. I'm just starting to wake up when everyone else is going to bed. It's just one more area where I'm out of step with rest of the world and I know it'll take weeks when this over to get back in step once this is over.
Poor Shmaryah came charging down here yesterday because I wasn't answering the cell phone. It was in the charger and he doesn't have the house number so he put himself in the car and came racing down. Bless him.
Someone stole the front plate from his car and that is not good. It means that whoever stole it can use the plate to go on the toll road on my account. I told him report to the cops because it can also be used by so called Palestinians to get over the green line. Not good. I hope he did. If not, I'll do it tomorrow. I'll also call the toll road people and let them know.
Ok, enough meandering nonsense for now.

Friday, July 21, 2006


I found this map yesterday and thought it might be a good idea to post it here so that anyone interested can see where the things are happening.I hope it can be made larger.Yup, it can with a right click! I live in Kiryat Shmona which is the little red smudge nect to where Lebanon is printed in caps. Nothing has fallen in town so far, but that could change.


I'm sure the trip is more interesting that the war. It *was* more fun, but as this war is pretty much going on in both my front and back yards and missiles seem to chasing me, I'm going to write about the war and go back to the trip later.
It's just too much sometimes to sit at home glued to the news on TV. Yeah, I know, I can always change the channel, but that doesn't seem to be an option these days.
On Tuesday, my neighbor Golan and I went to the kibbutz that made Harley Too to get a new charger. That excursion was uneventful and H.T. is now all charged up and ready to go. The only thing I'm using him for these days is to take Peg walkies. On the way home, we decided to have a neighborhood BBQ and stopped to pick up stuff for it and had a lovely cookout with the neighbors who were still here. Most have taken off for safer places. We decided to do it on a nightly basis. The feeling of defiance is wonderful. The #1 Hizzbully won't stop us! After a beer or two we managed to sleep through the noise, which is mostly our artillery shooting from just inside the town line. It is loud. On Wednesday we went to see my friends at their green house between Afula and Nazareth. On the way there we saw a plume rising from a neighborhood just outside Nazareth proper. We had discussed what to do in my front garden the day before. Golan loves making gardens so we picked out a bunch of stuff, including a water fountain, and two cool purple mushrooms after sitting for a few hours under a huge shade tree there and chatting. When it was time to go, Golan and Yaakov went out to the Disco to load the stuff I bought. The fountain is heavy, made from ceramic and they stuffed cardboard around it so it wouldn't break on the way home. While they were out there was a barrage of missiles. One hit in Nazareth and killed two kids. Another hit a water main in Afula and then one landed on the road between Afula and Nazareth right outside the green house, not even 50 meters (yards) from the tree. I was inside a green house that is just black netting with not so much as one solid wall. Golan and Yaakov were outside by the Disco and threw themselves on the ground with two of the plants. As my back was to the entrance, and as I couldn't see them, started yelling their names. Because their ear drums were almost destroyed by the explosion it took a few minutes for them to answer. They were ok, if shaken. We got the rest of the stuff in and I forgot the fencing we'd found earlier. Gee, wonder why.
In no time at all, the cops closed the road in both directions and informed us that we were stuck there until further notice. An off road biker showed up out of nowhere and offered to take us to the main road through the fields. Off we bounced after him, finally using the Disco for what it was made to do, with a ceramic fountain in the back. Yes, I was still a bit shaky. That was a proper missile, not one of the dinky katyushas I'm used to up here. And it was close! Driving over the rough terrain helped settle me and when we got to the road, decided to stop and eat at the first place that was open. I must start being more aware of the people who travel with me. Golan was starving but I can, and often do wait until I've finished everything on the to do list for that day to eat. Poor Susie suffered greatly from that while we traveling. I can't even look at food before 1400 and can go until late at night. I guess I do know that not everyone is nuts like that. So we stopped and had a great lunch, then continued homeward. On the way we went by a few other sites that were hit and wildfires had started. That particular barrage had sprinkled missiles all over the Galilee. When we finally arrived home, we decided that as we had eaten, we'd just sit out and have a few beers while watching the light show from the outgoings. One of the neighbors arrived and sat with us for a while. He goes to all the shelters in the neighborhood to see who needs what and we told him about the folks around here who are getting things delivered to their homes at the expense of those in the shelters. Corruption as usual. I'm not having it, and named names. There are also a few pictures for added proof. We'll deal with it after the war ends.
I stayed in yesterday-Thursday because I didn't feel like being adventurous after the previous day's close call. Golan came by and pulled weeds and sprayed the front garden so it will be ready to do next week. Even more neighbors took off for places unknown so it was just me and Golan outside last night. I took Peg for a quick walk, and saw our shells whizzing over head. Then I brought out a few beers, and we sat there (in Danny and Orna' entry) because it's off the path and not in the open. It was kind of fun to watch the flash as they were fired, then follow shell as it soared over us. Then, I saw a flash from the wrong direction and we heard the boom a few seconds later. We decided it was time to call it quits and went home. Turns out that flash from the wrong direction was two Apache helicopters crashing into each other. At the time we had no idea what it was and figured that flashes from that direction meant it was time to go in, so we did. As I'd had a short nap in the afternoon, I was far from ready to sleep, so watched a few shows until 0300 and drifted off. At 0945 I took Peg walkies and came back to a slightly better interweb connection. If it holds I just might have a scream up at the other blog. If not, I'll get organized for Shabbat.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I'm ready to scream at or at the very least threaten my cable company. The damn thing has been down all day and they refuse to send a techie to fix it. No computer all day was just too much and they really want to sort it tomorrow, they just don't know it yet. They will when I get back from getting Harley's charger. I didn't go today because I really didn't feel like going alone and no one was around. My neighbor, Golan is going with me tomorrow.
I'm not going to post a lot now because the interweb connection will disappear in a minute and I just want to let my 4 faithful readers know that I'm ok.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


While the bombs fly just to the north, and in all directions around here, it's time to pick up the sorry tale of the Great American Saga. I'll go right back to the very beginning and use notes I took along the way.
My flight to JFK was at 0100 or so on the Saturday night. Why don't we use Saturnight? Orna and I got me packed in good time, only forgetting one outfit which isn't too bad. I was outside waiting for Shmaryah to pick me up, and he arrived spot on time. I got to airport in plenty of time. This after going through the whole procedure of telling El Al that I'd be coming down from Kiryat Shmonah at the end of the Sabbath-which could be dodgy as it's a good 2 &1/2 hours away. As it turned out we got there early. Shmaryah got me and the bags inside and our airport's member of the International Wheely Pushers Union took over and I was zoomed through all the stuff and found myself upstairs at the gate with time to spare.
I rolled over to the duty free store where I bought 2 5 packs of cigarettes-1 5 pack for me and another for Jeffro. I used the time before boarding to put all 200 of the packs into my hand bag and the small black back pack. I got that done in the nick of time and was boarded first. The flight itself was uneventful and I played Scrabble on the lap top and managed to get some sleep.
The nightmare started at JFK. Their International Wheely Pushers Union guy somehow managed to steal my wallet-the one with the cash, credit cards and drivers license. There I was in JFK without a penny and no way to get to La Guardia for the flight to Maine. I knew that if I could get to Maine I'd be able to regroup. El Al lent me $ 20 to get there, which I did. The Delta flight was supposed to leave at around 1045 and I sat waiting patiently only to be told the flight was cancelled. The Delta people found a US Air flight leaving right then and got them to hold it for me while yet another Wheely Union guy ran (literally) me over there. I made them leave a message in Portland for Jeffro. We landed in Maine about 5 minutes after Delta was supposed to and I looked desperately around for Jeffro and Susie who was supposed to be there. Robbie, Vicky's best friend had been drafted for Airport duty along with Jeffro's oldest, Jessie. Robbie found me and we found Jeffro outside having hysterics because Delta cancelled and they never got the message to him. There were many tears at the brother-sister reunion and then, we went to car rental place but it was non starter as they need a credit card and drivers license in the same name and mine had been nicked. We all piled into Jessie's car and headed for Auburn. Jeffro and his sister had a cry/laugh fest on the way.
I was in Maine and all would come right!
Jeffro's apartment house has the worst set of stairs it's been my bad luck to encounter. Of course I got up them, and into their apartment which should be condemned if for no other reason than the stairs. Never mind that it's a mess. It's a clean mess and Vicky can't exactly clean. She's even more disabled than I am and Jeffro is not a big one for spic and span. Then, there's the bathroom with the trick toilet. It almost went over with me on it. Bad, very bad. Jeffro had an airbed which Susie used and I took the trainwreck of a sofa. Jeffro had made a pot roast with veggies and it was delicious. We stayed up pretty late and I was tired enough not to care about the sofa.
On Monday, Vicky, Susie, and Buster (Vicky's brother) and I went to the bank to withdraw the $ 3000 Jeffro was lending me to replace what was stolen. We then went to the local branch of the bank I'd once upon a time had an account in at a different branch. The gal who opened the account kept looking at me oddly and finally said that I look familiar to her. Turns out she used to work in the branch where I had an account back when and she knew Dad and the business well. We got the account open, a credit card ordered, and with the cash I held back, we went on a shopping spree. I got US current chargers for my phones and a Bluetooth for my razor. It's lilac and only $ 30 in that store. Got Susie and me calling cards, and then we went to Walmart where I bought 2 new airbeds that were high, and a few other things. We arrived home to find Jeffro having hysterics about where we were and why we didn't call. Hells-the girls were out shopping, and he expected us to call?
Jeffro and Buster went to get lobsters and steamers and we had a feast. It was Susie's first ever lobster and she liked it! We blew up the beds, and went to bed late. My cell wasn't letting me call out and Jeffro's phone is incoming only. They wouldn't even let a calling card be used for overseas call. Dumb phone company. I could only wait for Shmaryah to figure I was having phone trouble and for him to call, which he eventually did. We finally managed to conference call with my credit card company and sort a new card by UPS. Then, he went to work on a replacement drivers license so I could get the already paid for car.
While waiting for all that to sorted, I decided to get new living room furniture for The Rosses of Auburn and Robbie took us to the store Jeffro works in the warehouse of. I got them a new sofa bed and two nice chairs. When I say his old stuff was falling apart it's an understatement of colossal proportions. Vic and Jeffro's son, Joe came over with a friend and took out the old stuff and Robbie and I went to get the new in her pick up. Jeff was not pleased because it meant he had to help carry the new stuff in, but after a loud growl from his big sister he did it, cussing all the way. It was funny how everyone disappeared while I was chewing him out.Vicky to the bathroom, Jenny to her room and Susie was off playing Bingo. They only reappeared when the stuff was in place! They all loved it once it was in, but baby brother wasn't having any of it. He just muttered dire imprecations, but settled down soon enough.
Next up was Jenny's graduation. She was very nervous but went through it with flying colors. Of course it was raining-Maine-in almost summer.
At some point my credit card arrived, as did the license and after 9 carless days we went back to Portland and got the car.
Free at last, we went to Brunswick the next day and had a nice if too short visit with Alice. I rescued my Chemex from her basement and collected the only bumper sticker that survived her husband's cleaning spree-the Maine Guide one. We tried to find the house I built in Topsham but they changed all the streets and of course Fat Boy was closed, so we had KFC and decided to do Fat Boy the next day.
The next day we took pictures of all my old homes and found the Topsham one. We went to Lands End at Bailey Island where we bought some post cards and souvenirs, a small lighthouse and Maine playing cards. We stopped by where Alice works, drove around town, then back to Auburn.
Memory fails as to which day we went to LL Bean, but it WAS raining. I was determined to buy a pair of boots and did, after trying on every single pair they had in the store in my size. We finally found one that fit my idiot left foot just right. Got a pair for Susie too, then picked up a purple LL Bean cap, a fleece jacket, a purple and white boat bag and two rain ponchos and a few other things for Susie and Jenny. All in all a most satisfying shopping spree. Of course I could have gotten even more stuff, but I got what I really wanted and enough is enough.
Tuesday morning arrived and it was time to leave Maine. 9 days were gone because of that creep thief at JFK and I didn't get to see most of the people I'd planned on visiting. On the way from Auburn to Brunswick (an odd route out of Maine from Auburn) we stopped in Lisbon to get some Moxie and a Moxie T shirt, then managed to find the Times Record and have a much too short visit with Jonathan. Poor guy stood out by the car in the rain, but it was lovely to see him. Heading south from Brunswick we took old US 1 to Cumberland to see Ellen, who was out when we got there, but we had a nice visit with Jack until she got home. Words fail to describe how great it was to see them again. I don't remember a time without Ellen. Eventually we left and I decided that I needed a picture of my grandparents house in Portland. I found it with no trouble and after taking pictures we headed south again and by accident drove right past the street Dad grew up on. I do wish I'd caught it earlier. I would have turned in, but, alas....
We stopped for dinner at Hilltop Steak House in Massachusetts, then pushed through to Attleboro Mass. In the morning we pushed through to Susie's in Cumberland, MD and I finally met her mom who is a great lady. Poor Susie. She called Smoke, her dog, to go to bed with her, but he decided to stay with me to protect me from the cats. Susie left a bunch of stuff at home and brought a pile of CDs to use in defense against my non stop Don McLean CD.
Being on tight schedule, we left Cumberland and headed off towards High Point North Carolina. Finding the Interstate hypnotic and boring we went down the west side of Appalachia which I promptly named Bubba Country. It's beautiful and looks exactly like I imagined it would. There were at least 4 houses that could have been the Waltons and I had a great time making smart ass remarks.
We found High Point and Jag's house easily. After a super visit with Jags, her twin, and her mom, we checked into a crazy Days Inn not far from her house. The Days Inn was crazy because even though they had WIFI for the laptop, when connecting it said the the connection was from Days Inn employee use only not for guests. So why did the receipt come with user name and password? Nuts.
I don't know how they did it, but Jags and her mother managed to make business cards in Hebrew, and neither of them knows so much as one word of it. The cards are beautiful and Shmaryah loves them too. For some strange reason not connected with the *war* up here, the computer hasn't been connected for most of the day. It just came back, so I'll post this now and continue tomorrow.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


This particular welcome home was one I really didn't need, but actually was expecting. It was just too much to expect Nassralla to sit quietly while things were going tango uniform in Gaza.
There was a lot of noise up here last night and a few katushas fell in the area, but nothing was damaged in town and no one was hurt. This morning it was a bit different. Naharia had a direct hit on an apartment building and 1 woman was killed. They've also hit a few other places that are pretty far from here.
We are all supposed to be in shelters but until I have a signed commitment from the government that they will cover the losses incurred as a result of closing the store, the store will remain open.
I wish I had more faith in our government and could trust them to do what is needed, but I doubt they will. We've turned into a country of wusses and the army is the next best thing to a summer camp for high school graduates. But that's for the other blog.
I meant to continue the Great American Saga, but a bit on the present situation seemed to be in order.
I'm going out in a while-yes-to where they are shooting katushas-where else? But I'll be back and will continue the Great American Saga when I get back!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Ok, ok. So I've been home for a week and haven't posted so much as half a word since I rolled in exhausted and frustrated. With the recovery of the missing purple suitcase the trip is officially over.
I actually kept a diary while over there so things I wanted to post about here wouldn't get lost in my mind. The list is in the other room and I don't feel like getting up to bring it in here, so I'll just write about a few highlights that I remember clearly.
On the whole the trip was great. The only two bad things were the stolen wallet and the heat stroke I gave myself towards the end.
I no sooner got off the plane at JFK when my wallet ( $3000 cash,credit cards, and drivers license) were stolen, most likely by the member of the international wheely drivers who was taking me through immigration and customs. ElAl lent me $ 20 to get to La Guardia to catch the plane to Maine, where my brother was waiting. Susie had arrived and been found by Robbie-the pick the girls up mission director getting to Laguardia and the Delta counter, the Delta flight to Maine was cancelled so Delta got me over to U.S. Air who held the flight for me. Poor Jeffro was wild when my flight came up cancelled on the board at Portland, but Robbie found me too and there was a very teary reunion at the airport. No credit card and no license meant no rental car, so off to Auburn we went to sort those issues. Jeff promptly loaned me the 3 grand and after several conference calls the replacement credit card arrived via UPS and the license followed a few days later by FedEx. While waiting for them, we went to Jenny's high school graduation and did some minor shopping( cell phone chargers, Bluetooth earthing for the Razor, the famous purple suitcase and a few other odds and sods like Maine T shirts). Back in business with cards and license,we got the car and compressed 9 days into 2. I only got to see Alice, Jonathan, and Ellen. I *did* get pictures of all the houses I lived in, but they are in the other computer until tomorrow. We also got to LL Bean where I got myself and Susie LL Bean boots and socks a cap, bag and fleece jacket.
Maine is still pretty much the same except for all the building and Maine Street in Brunswick has so many different businesses that it's just not the same.(sigh)
The Jeffy (or Jeffro, as his daughter Jenny calls him) is doing fine, except that he just can't get stuff done at home. His living room furniture was literally falling apart and was impossible to sit on. I got him new furniture, and decided to become a slum lord and buy him an apartment house some time in the spring. I looked at few and have a promise from the bank over there for a mortgage.
I opened an account in the Auburn branch of the same bank I had an account in way back once upon a time. The gal who opened this account kept staring at me and said that she knows me from some place. That place turned out to be the other branch where not only did *I* have account, but so did the family business! And she remembered me from then! That was way coolies. As the credit card never arrived at Jeffro's she gave me an ATM card, and off Susie and I went on the rest of our trip. We stopped at the Hilltop steak house on the way out of Maine after going into Portland to take a picture of the house my grandparents in on Munjoy Hill. We stopped for the night on the Mass. R.I. line and got to Susie's for a quick visit with her mom, cats and dogs. Her mom is a sketch and their house dates back to the Civil war. I loved it except for the stairs from the street!
We took off the next morning in the general direction of Jag's in North Carolina. We went through Bubba country most of the way-the west side of Appalachia country and it was beautiful. We somehow found Jag's house with no trouble at all and had a lovely, if too short 3 day visit. That girl is a wonder.
That's it for now. Time for a shower and nap. More later!