Wednesday, January 17, 2018

No phone, lights or motor car

To be cut off is both liberating an frightening. What if someone needs me? But no one really needs me. What if something happens? But nothing ever really happens. In Jerusalem (moreso than at home) the phone is both a technological necessity and an anachronism. But here I am, a man without a phone, relying on Maddie to communicate with the outside world. So she sends a message out to the fleet that I am off the grid but she can't account for work emails or the people I can't anticipate. This is why I prefer to remain unimportant.

I sit alone in the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf with a double espresso, considering the relative cost and/or worth of taking a cab back to the apartment to get my phone. It is really cold and raining -- really gross outside, so walking back, a 20+ minute investment each way is not a real option, and waiting in the raw weather for the light rail so I can pay to reduce the walk to 5 minutes also isn't attractive.

It suddenly got sunny and people don't seem to know enough to put their umbrellas away (though the wind takes care of some of those). I waited for Maddie to finish up with whatever errands she ran by having a second double espresso. No time like the morning for a bad decision -- why should the evenings have all the fun? I sit and watch Jerusalem and consider how it is simpler than Tel Aviv, organized in its own crazy way, simpler and more honest. Then I realize that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about and that coffee is some yummy stuff. Maddie shows up (as does Ari Goldberg who is 17 feet tall and likes shakshuka. Yuck). We also see three other former students while eating breakfast. Maddie got the ciabatta with cheese. Meh. The coffee is all I needed.

After the meal, and a trip to another sunglasses store, we catch a Gett to Giv'at Sha'ul. Maddie needed to go to the Nefesh B'Nefesh center to return her broken backpack. Every person who moves to Israel or goes into the army deserves a free backpack apparently and if it breaks, by God, they get a new one. Maddie had gotten the replacement in Tel Aviv yesterday but promised she would return the broken one, if only to prove that she wasn't trying to cheat the organization and hoard backpacks. So the free backpack cost us the cab ride there and back. Pack.

We returned to the apartment to meet Elijah and get my phone. I couldn't go any further without it. I had received zero messages and even fewer calls. My unimportance confirmed, we headed back out into the drizzle. It soon turned into a heavy, soaking rain. Hurray. Off to the tailor, again and then, to kill time before we went BACK to the tailor, pizza. Next up, paper goods for Naomi and then, through the rain to the Swidler residence because of the promise of warm chocolate chip cookies. See, I like Israel and I like eating, but because I am allergic to nuts, I can't enjoy any of the baked goods around here. There is some sort of obsession with hazelnuts and that's just not cool. So while I would love to be able to get something to munch on while I drink my coffee, I can't. Sure, there probably isn't any nut in some of the products, but there are so many around and cross contamination happens so I don't want to risk it and live on Benadryl. We did find Reese's Peanut Butter cups made in America so I munched on them. Through the rain to N+D and many cute children and, more importantly, the hot cookies fresh from the oven. Quite good and warm and not raining so there's that. But I can't count on that when I am wandering a couple of miles away.

Then we head down to Harvey's and our reservation with the Oshins. On the way, Maddie stopped at a while bunch of dress stores so she can try things on and torture me and Elijah. She found nothing all that great but this way no store feels left out. Eventually, we get to Harvey's. Now, I thought Harvey's was a steak house. It turns out, it is a smoke house. I have never been to a smoke house. Normally, when there is smoke in a house, I go outside so this all seemed counter intuitive. But I went in anyway. We ordered every appetizer besides the salad because, salad. Beers and drinks and then mains. I ordered a steak. I know, "smoke house not steak house" but I wanted a damned steak. Other people got a variety of meats smoked for the past day or so but I wanted a simple steak to eat. It was really nice. They call it "entrecote" in Israel but I think of it as "steak." I don't believe in more detailed labels. Also, the onion rings are ridiculously good -- Jeff says he might have developed an addiction. Won't you please donate to help Jeff with his onion ring addiction? For just the cost of an order of onion rings, Jeff can have onion rings. Please help. Brisket, shoulder, and something called Asada kept us all busy and warmed us up from the inside. It is tough to get seats there -- make reservations a few days in advance and order a lot of different things. Share. Then order more. The food was made even better by the company. Though we missed Yoni, it was a hoot reconnecting with the Oshins -- good folks, they. And, they know Harvey so that's clutch.

We waddled out (nice work Harvey, by the way) and worked our way back to the apartment. The young 'uns are playing HQ and I'm drying off and warming up. I'm back to being connected and I can't decide if that is a good thing or not. And I'm still wondering if the espresso is going to haunt me all night. Tomorrow, the mall, because there are dress stores there also.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What would you like to eat? IDC

By the way, that's a Pierre reference in the title. If you don't understand that then you have been culturally deprived and someone's gotta get sued.

We started early this morning, mostly by waking up. It seemed like a mistake at the time and I'm still not convinced. A walk over to the central bus station, a building which, by smell and appearance was as overjoyed to be awake as we were, and onto the 947 bus. I tried to use the automated ticket machine but it didn't seem to work. In my halting Hebrew I explained to the big guy what I was trying to do and he kept pointing out that I wanted something else. I was pretty sure I wanted tickets to the 947. Maddie came over to show me I was wrong but I showed her how the machine was leading me to believe it could get me said tickets. She asked the big guy and he explained that the machine was an inveterate liar and, though I had understood the instructions, it simply could not vend that ticket. I still await general apologies for the assumption that I am incompetent. Let it proven some other time; the fault, dear Brutus, is in the machine, not in ourselves.

The 947 headed to Ra'anana (hey hey, kiss him goodbye) through Petach Tikvah and Hod Hasharon. Fro that terminal, we hopped a #39 for 10 or so stops to get to the campus of IDC, the school Maddie is looking at for next year. There were two stops on campus, identically named, so we chose one and started walking. We followed all the college looking types and ended up on the campus which is small but very nice. Mad's friend Hannah showed us around and we took note of the Communications building, the cafeteria, the Law School, the coffee stand, the economics building and the pasta bar. Then Maddie found somewhere to get something to eat. Our 10:30 appointment was delayed until 11:30 so we looked into some classrooms and Maddie took a final in Statistics. It is a very relaxed campus. During our walk, I ran into a variety of former students and others and Maddie found a friend or two, all reinforcing her sense of comfort at the school. At 11:30 we met with Emily Feldman to ask some pointed questions about the Psych program and how in the world am I supposed to pay for it. She addressed the first and for the second, sent us to a coordinator of student affairs who explained that the person who could answer was next door. We explained more to her so she got on the phone to call someone else. It turned into a very educational morning because she learned a lot of new stuff about army service and federal funding. I'm glad we were able to give her the opportunity to learn stuff. What was interesting to hear was her admission that answers she got today might be different tomorrow -- not as a metaphor, literally 24 hours from now, the identical question might elicit different answers and nothing was in writing. Can a student use that on a test? "Ask me tomorrow and we'll see." No one really has authoritative answers, or even comprehensive understanding of all the possible situations involving lengths of different kinds of service, scholarships, Aliyah benefits etc. Even the Israelis were annoyed at the bureaucracy and uncertainty. Let the acculturation begin!

We hopped a Gett (Hebrew for Uber) towards Tel Aviv, through Ra'anana, a City of Roundabouts, so we could meet up with a high school friend of mine, Brian. Tel Aviv is known as the City of Traffic Jams. The streets were built to accommodate two thin men, or one plus size model walking, so 3 Citroens and a city bus, sharing the space with 2 motor cycles and a mini van doesn't make for speed of any note. Also, the dotted lines are apparently suggestions, and not good ones. Brian does something that involves words like "Mid East" and "research" but the details are unclear to me. We have seen each other once between today and 1988 so this was nice. We ate at Kakao, a dairy cafe on Rothschild. I had an eggplant appetizer and an impersonal pizza. Maddie had a Caesar Salad with Salmon, hold the vegetables. Brian had something health based so who cares? We chatted about life in Israel and important stuff like that. I actually liked it. The food was OK but the conversation and company were welcome.

Next we walked to what we thought was the location of our meeting. We were wrong. After a series of phone calls we found that we were supposed to be 10 minutes away. OK, another Gett to Weitzmann something or other where we met with the Lone Soldier Coordinator for Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization which helps people make Aliyah to Israel. He, and his co-worker spoke with us about all the benefits Maddie could or could not get depending on all the misinformation we apparently received at IDC. Bottom line is that she should make Aliyah and everyone will throw money at her. If she doesn't she will have to sacrifice a goat and live under a bridge.

Back into another Gett to visit Dizengoff Center, a mall based in two buildings, each a city block long, across the street from each other (connected by multi level bridges) and 3 stories high. The mall is built around spiral ramps and staircases so you can be assured of not seeing all of it and not knowing how to get out. The types of stores were grouped together so you might find yourself in the pet store section and see 4 pet stores in a row. Then come the 6 linen stores and the 14 tattoo and piercings parlors. Then the store that sells swords, maces and potions. Struth. There was also a kosher Burger King. Fortunately, we also had a chance to go DRESS SHOPPING! Hurray! Now, salesladies in 2 cities are convinced I'm an idiot. Maddie actually asked me to find her a 4 Midi, and I, stupidly brought a 4 Mini. I know, right? How dumb can I be?

We walked outside and found our way to a bus to the terminal and then caught the 480 to Jerusalem. We both dozed and awoke near our destination. We walked back to her apartment so we could argue about dinner. Eventually we reached a solution. I would pay for it and go get it and she agreed to eat it. She got ac and cheese (or something not completely unlike Mac and Cheese) from the Waffle Factory (where they assemble some of the key industrial waffles you find in cities around the world) and I got McDonalds, as every growing boy should. Tomorrow, I may attempt a solo trip, so let's hope for the best.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Price We Pay

Today started out as an empty day. The plan was to get bus info for the trip to IDC, make a shopping list for IKEA tomorrow and move a table. That should only account for 5 or so hours. But as we talked about it an got information, it became clear that based on what Maddie needed, IKEA would not be a cost/time efficient option. She doesn't need furniture, just home wares. While some of the stores in Jerusalem might be a little more expensive, between buses and trains and carrying stuff around for a whole lotta hours, a trip to Netanya or Rishon LeTziyon didn't make sense. So we decided to walk towards Fox Home since Maddie has a membership there so she earns points through purchases and everything in the home goods section is 50% off.

On the way, we stopped at some local hardware and "single use" stores. In Israel, it seems that your choices are either Rolls Royce or a cardboard tricycle that my older brother spilled hot acid on. The country has two settings: the "plastic is too good for you" store, and the "even Americans find this excessive" store.

We ducked in to the shuk because Maddie knew a paper goods (which includes knives...everything is cheap) we had to visit and I wanted to eat something. Unfortunately, though we got knives, the Marzipan bakery is only peanut free, not nut free. So back out and towards the center of town. We did make a stop at Rebar where Maddie got a shake and I got a big cup of pomegranate juice. They used 4.5 pomegranates to make a cup and it was fantastic. Four and a half pomegranates into a cup -- no seeds, no mess. I could drink this very often. You really should try this. In America the pomegranates are no good. Here, everyone is a winner and they have these awesome machines that juice them really efficiently. I expect you to get me some of that for my return. So noted.

We continued up towards Fox Home and bought everything. So here's the crux of today's discussion -- when I set Maddie up in her apartment a year and a half ago, we did a lot of shopping because keeping your own apartment requires planning. It costs even more if one wants to keep a kosher kitchen -- 2 sets of everything and that's just to start. It isn't cheap or easy to maintain a kosher home and I'm proud that Maddie has made this a priority. When I set aside money I don't want to begrudge any attempt to adhere to strict religious rules. But I also see the imposition in time and effort and wish that things could be that much easier for my child and bank account. What has become the fly in the kosher ointment is "roommates." Maddie's haven't always been consistently aware of, sensitive to or sympathetic about her keeping kosher. They use what they want, leave it out or wash it however they want and some have friends over who care even less. Sure, Maddie signed on with them, but under the expectation that they observe the Sabbath and keep kosher; (incredibly) sometimes, people apparently advertise for these things and tell little white whoppers. And it isn't just the kosher thing -- cutlery goes missing, mugs and glasses go broken and bowls go melted. Everything, it seems, must go.

So we shop again and store everything in the machsan (storage room) so that she will be set up for next year when she has new roommates. And I also tell her to sit with these new people and draw up a set of agreed upon rules for keeping everything respectfully kosher -- a "PreSup agreement" if you will. And even if you won't. I admire Maddie for not freaking out any more than she has. A big glass of wine jumped to its demise yesterday. We cleaned it up and she did breathing exercises. The pepper shaker is gone. She took a walk. The fancy plates are chipped and the ones in the drying rack are not especially clean. She counted to a million. So yes, when we shop, I let her get things that maybe she won't "need", or maybe I let her get a level of quality above what a young lady really should settle for, but when it comes to the tension between properly following the laws which help define her and explain why she feels so close to Israel, and a few extra dollars, I'd rather spend the money and make it that much easier for her to hold true to these vital precepts and not show her that religious ideals can be sacrificed when they aren't convenient.

So anyway, we went to Fox, the home of everything breakable -- 2 glasses were dropped by other people while we were there. In all honesty, Maddie did drop a salt shaker in a small hardware store earlier in the day and I spilled her latte on the floor in a fancy clothing store yesterday. We tiptoed through and bought new pans and pots (just a few) and some other home needs. We couldn't find everything so we went through HaMashbir also and bought more stuff. Then to another really nice store on the way back for less breakable glasses. We had been there when we first set things up and the proprietor remembered us (a year and a half later) and even remembered what we bought last time. They must not get a lot of customers. Light rail (because of all the bags we were carrying) on which Maddie explained the finer points of M-16s and back, dropping almost everything off in the locked storage room.

We are off to Cinema city for some dinner, kosher, of course.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A commercial message

A quick note about tonight's dinner: we went to a restaurant called Crave.

Go there.

I mean, now.

I mean drop everything, buy tickets to Israel, hop a cab and eat there. Sure, you might have to wait an hour in the rain and wind for a table. Sure, you will eventually be seated at a small table, on a stool. Sure, it will be noisy, parking will be impossible and the music will make it tough to hear yourself exist. But do it.

The waitstaff is really friendly. The service is incredibly quick and the food is wonderful. I had a Ruben with extra meat and lamb bacon. There was a slight antiseptic taste (I wish I could explain it better, sort of like a clean hospital, but I get the feeling that this is a sensory issue of mine in the way I perceive the smokiness of a Laphroig -- same thing), but the food was great. The Vodka Collins was delicious, an the blaring music was from the catalog of bands Dan likes. Other diners in our party (Eli, Maddie and Slaughter-dale) had things like the Primal, the brisket sandwich and something else I don't even recall. The wings were crispy and juicy, the nachos with fake cheese were delicious (I even ate a few pieces of hot pepper) and the onion rings were as good as any I have had in Israel (and better than many I have had elsewhere). The beer selection seemed nice and, based on reports from those who had, the desserts were killer. We got a ride back from Steve and I'm sitting here still full and savoring the memory of my sammich.

So go. Don't tell them Dan sent you because they don't care.

January Surprise

Morning started cooler and rainy. A gusty wind pushed the thick cloud cover away and left us with a mostly clear sky and cold air, punctuated by clouds and more wind. We took the light rail to the center of town and hoofed to the tailor. Maddie dropped off most of her stuff but we have to go back to get her uniform tailored. Then to grab some food. Rebar had no food she wanted (she was planning on getting a bowl of oatmeal with berries and coconut but they had no oatmeal, berries or coconut so the guy was willing to make a bowl of kiwi, pineapple and cardboard -- she demured) so we headed to Cafe Hillel. She got a white hot chocolate (made with white chocolate tablets which never quite melted) and a croissant and I got a double espresso. Mine was yummy and who cares about anything else?

We made it to the Mamilla mall and stopped at TopShop, a mid to higher end clothing store. Maybe. Who knows. Taking your kid dress shopping sucks in any language and on any continent. Only three sentences get spoken to a dad : 1. Here, hold this. 2. What do you think of this 3. I'm ready - get out the credit card.

The appropriate responses are 1. Yes dear 2. That's a little um, little 3. Shouldn't we check with your mo- whatever, ok.

In my head the answer to all 3 is "get bent" but I resisted the urge.

Next we went shopping for dresses at Zara. Zara is the Hebrew word for "strange" as in, "strange, I didn't think you needed anymore dresses". Next, Mango, as in "man, go away until your daughter needs you to pay." Hebrew is a magical language like that.

6 dress, 1 sunglasses and 2 shoe stores later we had not purchased anything else but I had the chance to be bored in a wide variety of settings. Also, my back. Ouch.

We made if to the Hadaya store where I surprised Maddie with the piece her mom had bought for Maddie's 21st birthday. She really likes it and was really confused and surprised. To celebrate, we stopped at Mr. Pretzel where Maddie bought fresh pieces of pretzel. I suspect that the guy's name is not actually Mr. Pretzel. He is probably an immigrant and his name was changed when he moved to Israel. Also, he might have been born a woman. I really don't know.

Back up from the old city in search of food and a bathroom. On the way, we made sure to run into two more sunglasses stores and see the rest of the world. Hugs and selfies and other things that give me hives. We grabbed a couple of slices at Big
Apple pizza and then, refreshed, headed to more dress shopping and then back to the tailor. A stop at a sunglasses store or three, hardware stores and more dresses.

Max Stock for a lint roller and hangers, Tambour for a sewing kit and double sided foam tape. Zol Stock for a bath mat, foil wrap, electrical tape and foil pans, then the light rail for a couple of stops (as the wind kicked up and temperature plummeted), to Turim. We figured to walk home from there but decided to stop in Mayan 2000 for some supermarket necessities -- toilet paper, paper towel, orange spray cleaner, laundry detergent and, of course, Wacky Mac. Suitably laden, we trudged back to the apartment so I could properly clean the bathroom. The kid keeps it pretty tidy but sometimes it just needs a daddy to get it truly clean. Next up, dinner plans because we haven't eaten in a couple of hours.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Crack Square Dancing

Saturday night in the city of Jerusalem is a trip. The transition from Shabbat to regular life is very quick in certain ways and incredibly slow in others. The streets instantly become a mix of the young ravers with the music pounding, and the very orthodox slowly walking through, still resplendent in their Shabbat finery.

Maddie and I headed out to the light rail to meet my brother and his kids. We stopped off at SuperPharm because Maddie needed deodorant (not on my recommendation...she decided this on her own). From there we walked over to Black Burger. This place is a serious burger bar. I know because we ate burgers, seriously. I had a "Lord Black" which is a burger, while my brother had a Spinacha which is a burger. Much the same story rang out around the table. Maddie had a purple cocktail of some sort while I had a Stella and the babies drank water explaining that they have work tomorrow. Babies. Sheesh.

The food was, in a word, meh. Burgers taste like cow and have plenty of stuff on them and sides, but I just don't get the allure. I can get burgers in lots of places, and I intend to. So chalk this up to another one and done on the food front.

We headed back from Black Burger n Shlom Tziyon Hamalka and started walking up Ben Yehuda. We wended our way through "Crack Square" which is called that for completely non-offensive reasons so no one should worry...really...Part of that walk required navigating the stroller through a rave. Emmy wanted to dance. Bitz asked for hookah. It was a blast. We ran into so many people -- former students of mine, army friends of Maddies, people Tasha, Zevi, Eli or Josie knew. We started our walk having eaten fleishigs but by the time we got to the top we were practically dairy. Ira and his brood kept walking, heading to the bus and home. Maddie and I turned around and headed back down into the fray. In between awkward small talk with all the various people, we connected with two of Maddie's friends, sat for a while in the cold (getting colder) outside of an ice cream place (Katzefet) watching foolish people not wear enough clothes and talk too loud, and then decided to go for a drink. The young people directed me to a little market called "Goah" which is a hole in the wall candy-and-soda place which also happened to pour drinks in the back. I saw a whole bunch of former student and they bought me a drink. This is how I know I was a successful mentor and good influence -- they paid. They bought me this stuff called Tubi which is some sort of wheatgrass alcohol and tasted like lemon juice and vinegar mixed with iodine and ground tires. Another one and done. I made sure to wash it down with vodka. So there I was, in the back of a bodega, drinking mini shots (called "chasers" they are half of a real shot and about an eighth of a reasonable drink) with my kid until we decided it was time to take the light rail back.

On a side note, shout out to Maddie's friends who tried to freak me out. Like that can happen. So, Nash and all the others whom you told I was your father, super to you.

Add double sided foam tape to our extensive shopping list for tomorrow. Vacation, all I ever wanted.

and it was good

We started Friday with a walk to the Lone Soldier Center on Yaffo. This organization provides a network, a set of companions and, as you will read, a lot of beer to the soldiers who have no family in Israel as they serve the country. Maddie had been asked to speak to girls currently learning in various seminaries who are considering serving in the army. I had been asked to sit down and shut up. I did it happily. And ate a bagel with some sort of cheese on it while I watched a bunch of twenty year-olds socialize while carrying guns bigger than Sparky. No offense Sparky. Just saying.

The LSC is, by nature of its focus on army people, run by 24 year-olds for the benefit of 20 year-olds. And I'm sitting here, mostly asleep, as a 48 year old. No one else is near my age but their parents are. Way to fit in. It is both heartening and harrowing to see such young people try to run such an organization (and, for that matter, the IDF, itself). With thoughts swirling around me to this effect I dozed while chewing said bagel. A soldier came in at 9:30 and grabbed a beer while 5 current (or recent) soldier women explained to 20 seminary girls how the process of testing, drafting, testing, complaining, testing, serving and ultimately, drinking beer will go. Maddie mingled and I was introduced to another set of parents because in my stupor, what more could I want to do than make awkward small talk with someone named "Stan." No offense Stan. Just saying.

Off to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for a quick cuppa on the way to the kotel. You can get coffee everywhere but there are so many fancy types. I just want a big cup of black coffee. That's the challenge. I had to settle for a medium sized cup of Turkish coffee which ended up being pretty good but now I feel beholden to Turkey and that's just not right in this current political climate.

We walked through the outdoor Mamilla mall. Fancy stores, places to eat and, eventually a chasid busking, singing and playing an acoustic version of As Tears Go By. I gave him a few shekalim because, well, I guess because it was so unexpected and, in a way, welcome to hear the Rolling Stones on a Friday morning in the Jerusalem sun.

We stopped by the Hadaya store but it was closed. Maddie spoke with someone raising money for the group Lechi without knowing much about Israel. They seemed rather radical so the ignorance was even more frightening. He didn't even know what Lechi stood for. Look it up. I'm not working today. I watched out for cats because they can get rather feisty and I didn't want a repeat of the last trip. We made it to the kotel and Maddie flashed her army ID so she went through the metal detector etc with little checking. All that time in the army finally paid off as she saved 13 seconds and I, as her guest, didn't have to put my wallet through an x-ray machine which just means that the emergency crackers I keep folded in there have not been irradiated. Huzzah.

I only stayed at the wall for a few minutes but in that time I really did feel spiritually recharged. I know -- it is just a wall. But something about it makes everything I believe very real. It helps me focus and feel, connect and understand. It is something I need to keep me going until the next time. If you want to relate, try reading Tintern Abbey. Same thing. I won't explain it. Remember, I'm not working. I said tehillim and asked the big guy to protect everyone I love and some people I just tolerate. As it was getting closer to Shabbat, we hopped a cab back to Ben Yehuda and King George and ducked into a Yemenite restaurant that Maddie likes so we could get take-out for Shabbat lunch. The food was all out in pans (apparently the army calls these "gastronomim" but I think that that's a bit like calling a bowl of dog food "victuals") and we filled up some small tins with chicken, beef, crunchy filled things and (as Maddie is watching me write this, I will remind her) A PIECE OF FISH WHICH IN THE FRIDGE. We walked back with our bags and saw the whole world waiting by the light rail outside Machane Yehuda. Small talk with former students, friends and people who wanted money for their too large families. We stopped at a small makolet and got Prigat (Lemonana and Banana-Strawberry if you must pry). Then we got back to the apartment to prepare for the long wail of the Shabbat horn.

We walked back to the LSC for dinner. Fifty or so soldiers (some with a plus one) mingled and eventually held a raucous dinner in which I learned that seven treatments of potatoes along with rice and challah is still delicious, soldiers are a rowdy bunch on weekends and the army travels on its well-trodden liver. Beer (Stella), various wines and liquor were served. (The shots were reserved for those people who, in the last two weeks, had reached a milestone in their service -- enlisting, going from training to full service, finishing, breathing air, or being the father of Maddie). By 8:30 we had had enough and we walked back (we, being Maddie and her friends Adi and Gabi). Lights out was 4+ hours earlier so we were asleep by 9PM.

Shabbat day was a stay-in affair. I was up at 2AM and read til 4, then slept until 9. I davened and read more -- Ready Player One, which I finished...and I have much to say on that topic, some other time, but in brief, HEY, Ernest Cline, stop mining my life for your book! Lunch with Maddie's roommate Leah at about 11:30 during which we spoke about the difficulties of keeping kosher when not everyone is exactly on board in an apartment (someone used a parve pot for chicken soup and then soaked it in the dairy sink...). We chatted until about 2 when we all fell back asleep until 4. Shabbat wound down and now we are preparing to go out and grab some dinner because, as Goldberg says, "Dinner? I haven't had that since yesterday."

Tomorrow, back to the old city and some simple shopping:

aluminum foil
a new shower rod/curtain
nice dresses (for Maddie)
back to the Hadayah store

Sundries, abut not various.