Thursday, September 28, 2006

One Day In September

Yom Kippur is a great day of the year. We enter it with fear and trepidation and exit it with rejuvenation and a renewed spirit & vigour with which to take on the next 12 months. Frankly I have no idea how people who don’t have Yom Kippur function.
It’s a special day and I hope you all have a good and meaningful fast.

Interesting dilemma for me this Shabbas. My Australian Football team, the Sydney Swans is playing in the Grand Final this Saturday and there is the chance of watching them live courtesy of a TV which is left on over the whole of Shabbat.

But I’m a big believer in karma and what if me watching will cause them to lose? Not only would they have lost but I’m not interesting in watching if they are going to do so - not that they will. Last year had plans to watch the game and went over to the person’s place to watch it but Hurricane Katrina knocked out the satellite and we didn’t get to see it. They then went on to win.

Them winning is the main priority. Think I might have to take one for the team. At least there is no chance of finding out the score beforehand.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Day in the Life

Sorry that I aren't on the same blogging cycle as I used to be but with a new daughter and new job everything is a bit hectic.

My new job is going well and I'm enjoying it a great deal. I don't have the time though, to blog during the day like I used to.

I think it's better to blog during AM hours but can't do that at the moment so blogging once I get a spare moment at night is the best I've got.

Now starting to appreciate what people were saying about everything being put on hold once a baby comes on the scene.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Since You've Been Gone

Sorry for the long delay but had post two-day Yom Tov trauma and then didn’t feel too flash after the fast. So let me bring you up to speed….

Day One Rosh Hashana

Before we get to that, as usual the build up was pretty intense. Friday at the Supersol was insane and Mister Zol on Palmach trumped that by some distance. Suffice to say that it was glad to finally get to Yom Tov to escape all the commotion.

Davened at Nafka Mina which is a superb minyan. In the Bnei Akiva snif, it has that great Bnei/Gush vibe and when everyone sings in unison (eg V'Haviotim El Har Kodshi) you feel as though the roof is about to be fly off. Typical of Katamon every seat in the women’s section is taken while there are some vacancies in the mens.

Better yet it had a Kiddush both days!

Friday night marked YM’s first visit to shul and her first dinner at someone else’s house.
Your whole perspective is changed once a pram/carriage/Agala comes into the equation. For the most part Israeli footpaths do not cater for wheels.

Saturday afternoon was sleeping on the couch when all the excitement started. I woke up startled by what Mrs Co.Il was shouting at me. When you first wake up in this fashion, what you first hear comes across as gibberish. So all I was hearing was “Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah.”

Put the finger in the ear and on the fourth go, I got it, “The fuse just blew and the lights are out. What are we gonna do?”
So 5.30 on Shabbas afternoon, my mission was to get out and find me a Filipino who would accompany me back to the house and flick the fuse for us.

Luckily, Tchernichovsky St, which is heavily populated by senior citizens is just above us. So scanned the street and sitting on one of the balconies was some old guy with a Filipino. Bingo!
I shouted out and explained the situation to the lovely girl who went and called her employer. Out appeared some elderly French woman who didn’t understand a word I was saying. She called out to her fellow neighbour who was out on the adjacent balcony. I explained to the neighbour what was going on and she translated for me. Luckily the French lady relented and the Filipino came with me.
Gave her a chair to stand on and she flicked the switch and problem solved! Did in 24 minutes what it takes Jack Bauer a whole day.

Day Two Rosh Hashana
The only two day Yom Tov of the year unless Shavout is on Friday.
Biggest differences between the two RH days this year was Shofar. Why is it that everyone has to turn around and watch? It’s not as if there is anything to see.

We were told to be at lunch by 12:00 but only left shul at 12:45. They had already eaten by the time we got there.

A nice guy came over and blew Shofar for Mrs Co.Il as she wasn't able to hear it. Thankyou Janglo!

Tzom Gedalia
Wasn’t much fun. Went to work but was in zombie mode the whole day until 3pm when I called it a day and went home. At home just chilled until the breaking of it. Broke it on a cup of tea and granola bar. Went to bed at 9pm

So that was that. Nothing too exciting. Now just getting ready for Yom Kippur as well as writing my speech for the Simchat Bat.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy New Year

From the whole team here at Dot Co Dot Il would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Shana Tova.

We wish you a year of challenges - Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

A year of reaching goals - Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.

A year of new and fresh ideas - Minds are like parachutes. They work best when open.

And finally, may we all have a year of peace, good health, joy, and happiness.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Year to Remember

As we approach 5767 crazy to think that another 12 months have passed since we were last in this position.

Let me quickly take stock of what has happened since then…..

*Mrs Co.Il fell pregnant in December and gives birth in August.
*Left my first job at the beginning of the year, was in a second place for the middle of the year and just started my current job three days ago.
*Got my Israeli driver’s licence.
*Went to Australia where we saw the New Year’s Eve fireworks on Sydney Harbour.
*There was a skirmish up north.
*The Chicago White Sox broke an 88 year drought to win the World Series.
*Carolina Hurricanes and Miami Heat win.
*Chelsea go back to back while Liverpool win a classic Cup final.
*Italy won their fourth World Cup.
*Crash won Best Film
*I started this blog!

Probably a stack of other things which I’ve overlooked.

Who knows what will happen in the next 12 months but we will begin to find out come this Friday night.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Round the Corner

When I commuted to Tel Aviv everyday from Jerusalem, often I was the first person there. Left the house at 6.40am and arrived there just before 8.

This always seems to be the case - that the farther you need to travel, the more you arrive before everyone else.

Now that I only have to get to Har Hotzvim, leave the house at 8 and get there by 9.

Waking up an hour after I used to and I don't feel any less tired when I wake up.

Biggest difference is that when I had to wake up for Tel Aviv, I had a pathological fear of missing the bus. Not only did I jump at of bed but often I pre-empted the alarm and got up before it rang.

Now that I have more options at my disposal, I tend to dither more.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My Girl

One of the things I have been asked a number of times since YM came onto the scene has been “Are you ready to be a Dad; were you ready to be a parent?”

The answer is yes. After nine months and then some of waiting, how can you be anything but ready? Thinking about it every day if not every hour of every day and contemplating what it all means. So I was more than ready.

What is strange though, is to be holding a baby I don’t have to hand back. All this time I was used to holding a baby and then returning it back to the parents or someone else. But now there is no one to give her back to.

She is mine and when she starts to cry instead of passing her off to someone, I rock her in my arms, look into those big eyes of hers and tell her that everything will be ok.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lion Sleeps Tonight

Not much of a post but Im exhausted from my first day at work.

First day of work is always a tricky one. There are lots of names to learn and everything is all new. You do the tour and tell everyone your name although you know you will forget everything as soon as its over.

I can't think straight. Off to bed and will wake up in time for the midnight feeding.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Not Without My Daughter

When you have a mixed marriage, sometimes you pay the price later. Today that price was paid spending four hours at the lovely American consulate in East Jerusalem.

Like me, Mrs Co.Il comes from the land that is red, white and blue but instead of having six stars on her flag she has 50.

We are going to be going to the States for Succot and need to register YM as someone born abroad as well as getting her American passport.

So we trekked to East Jersualem at 7.30 in the morning and took our place in the queue. My first impressions that we had landed on the set of 24. Reasons for this was all the two cheeked kisses.

Luckily Mrs Co.Il was incredibly organized and after having been to the Interior Ministry earlier in the week had every piece of documentation we needed.

After speaking to the attendant on the outside we were told to wait outside until we would be called one at a time. Went inside and then through two metal detectors where we found ourselves in a small waiting room. Small is the operative word as if there are too many people in there they don’t let any more people in.

After a while we were called up where Mrs Co.Il produced her phone book size stack of documents. He ticked off everything except we didn’t have our original marriage certificate, just copies. The original must have got mixed up with the Interior Ministry stuff.

So I had to go back home and get it. Into a cab, run upstairs, get back into the cab and then return to the scene of the crime. When I got back there was almost a party going on with a couple from our birth classes as well as married friends of ours.

I produced the marriage certificate and all that did was allow us to proceed to Step 4h of the process which was to examine the evidence that Mrs Co.Il was a resident of the USA for a number of years before she was 14 as well as a couple of years after.

So what evidence did we present?
School Transcripts.
School Yearbooks.
Certificate from School that Mrs Co.Il was a Mitzvah Girl.
Birth Certificate of Mrs Co.Il's Cabbage Patch Doll.
School Chessed of the Week award
Library Card.
Blockbuster Card.
Subway Ticket from 1991.
Ticket Stub to Cats.

With such great documentation it was a matter of case closed and we were on our way.

Now when it comes to giving her an Australian passport, it’s far easier. All she has to do is eat a Vegemite sandwich.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Play Ball

Got a call last week from my softball team asking if I would play for them last night. Didn’t really want to play but I was the ninth guy and they were desperate. So off I went to the Baptist Village in Petach Tikva.

As far as Israel goes the facilities there are outstanding. A perfectly manicured baseball and softball field side by side. There is the added bonus of playing under lights which is always exciting.

When we arrived I thought I was on the set of the Bad News Bears. We had only turned up with the minimum nine guys, while the other team had about 16 plus a masseuse, physiotherapist and dietician.

I knew they were taking things a bit too far when I got an up close glimpse of them and saw they even had the black war paint under the eyes.

The game was a tale of two teams. In the red corner was us, chilled and relaxed, just wanting to have fun. And in the anal retentive corner was them, hyped up as if this Game 7 of the World Series.

I normally play right field but with us having someone even less adept than me playing, I was moved to second base. Took one catch and for the most part it was uneventful in the infield.

Alas, for every single thing which happened in the game they had an annoying chant or cliché to say.

In the end we were simply too rusty and just didn’t give much of a toss so went down without much of a fight. That was a great thing as we managed to get home quicker.

But if anyone out there is interested in playing softball, the team is on the look-out for some able bodies so drop me a line.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Twice in the last week have been involved with a Chefetz Chashud. For those of you who don’t know what it is - it’s when a suspicious object is found in public and everything gets cordoned off to investigate what it is. In the event that it is indeed something suspicious, the object will be dealt with accordingly.

More often than not it’s just someone’s laundry or shopping but you never know and before you found out what it is, everyone gets a bit spooked.

If I was a tourist to Israel, I would get freaked out about this but it becomes part and parcel of living here.

With my new job I have to take four local buses a day and frankly haven’t given it a second thought.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Trading Places

When you make or considering Aliyah, employment or being able to find it is a massive issue. The lifestyle here is conducive to putting your hand in your pocket and if there is nothing coming in at the other end, you may find yourself in a spot of bother.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate or blessed when it comes to this. Found a job after only two months of looking. Left there and was able to find another one without being unemployed for too long. Both jobs paid reasonably well and were in English, the only issue was they were both in Tel Aviv.

The commute isn’t easy. In the morning there is a bus which goes through the neighborhood and then goes directly to Tel Aviv. I get that at 6.45 and we normally arrive around 7.50.

Going home isn’t as simple. It involves getting to Tachana Mercazit in TA followed by waiting with the hordes for the bus to come. The traffic is far worse in the afternoon as well. When I get to TM in Jerusalem I either get the 31/32 home or walk. If I leave work at 5, won’t get home too much before 7.

As arduous as the commute is, it’s far preferable than being unemployed. In the line of work I'm in, jobs in Jerusalem are few and far between and those that are there seem not to pay as well as those in TA, Netanya, Herzliya, et al.

Which is why I’m so excited to be starting a new job in Jerusalem next week. Not only is it local but the long term prospects there are excellent. As I’ve been telling everyone in the interviews, “I don’t want a job, I want a career.”

There will still be some commuting but nothing as gruelling as going up and down the Ayalon twice a day.

Not sure about the condition of the toilets there, but I can fill you in next week.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

And On the Seventh Day She Rested

Yakira had her first Shabbat at home yesterday. Was really special.

Mrs Co.Il lit an extra candle for her and we blessed her just before Friday night dinner. Don't think it was as memorable for her - she slept for the most part.

Shabbat was a bittersweet occasion with the in-laws having to fly back to the States last night. Is hard for them to be so far away from their only grandchild and vice versa but that is part of the sacrifice we commit to for making Aliyah.

Similarly with my folks who now have a fifth grandchild they are away from and Australia is about as far away as you can get.

B"H for the internet, cheaper phone-rates and the like. Were this 1966, had we sent photos of our newborn in the mail, by the time they would have got there it would just about be her Bat-Mitzvah.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Photographic Memories

Can’t believe that Yakira is already a week old. Such a short amount of time but yet in these seven days so much has already happened.

We have all been taking a lot of photos of her and it got me thinking how it would be cool to take one of her every day and that way her development could be tracked. Given digital photos and things like Flickr it shouldn’t be a problem.

This Shabbas will be very exciting as it will be her first one at home. Come Sunday, expect to see some photos of her in her first Shabbas outfit.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Being Irreplaceable

A guy at my work quit last Thursday. Got to work on Sunday and already sitting at his desk was some new guy. It was if he had never even existed.

This of course is a very scary concept to us because of our egos. We want to think that our presence matters and that we will be missed and grieved over but this hardly ever happens. Life goes on and we are left to write our own eulogies.

That’s the way life works. Just as we replaced someone, someone will replace us. This can be tricky in a work situation, be messy in a political one, but is the trickiest in a romantic one.

"I wonder if he/she as miserable as I am?” we ask ourselves. After all, misery does love company. "How can he/she be having fun when I am a wreck?"

And there is nothing more upsetting than finding out that she/he is seeing other people. A tell-tale sign that they have moved on while we are still dangling in the same place.

We would love to believe that the person/organization we have left behind has been rendered to a state of utter chaos due to our depature and they are going to come groveling to us begging for our return. But 999 times out of 1000 this isn’t the case.

Give them a week and they won’t even remember our name.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Time Lines

When you get married the lack of freedom and unrestricted movement comes as a bit of a shock to the system.

Having a newborn baby is that to the power of N.

Spare time is now a oxymoron and if you aren't doing something for the baby you are doing something for the wife and trying to give her some respite.

Not that this is bothering me or getting me down. On the contrary its very exciting and I'm taking every second of it in.

Because in the blink of an eye, is going to come the day where she won't sit on my lap anymore or go to sleep in my arms.

Have to savour these moments accordingly :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Doing Shots

The first day of the rest of our lives was today with it being Yakira's first day at home.

Was a day interrupted with the rhythms of feeding and sleeping. She is a good girl and so far, B"H, hardly cries at all.

Took her on her first outing today with a trip to Tipat Halav. First assignment was to strap her and her seat into the taxi. The bemused taxi driver who didn't have a seat belt around himself was wondering what all the fuss was about.

The lady at Tipat Halav was lovely and talked us through everything. We then weighed her to see if she had put on weight since leaving hospital. Yakira must have felt comfortable because she marked her territory by peeing all over the floor. You go girl!

There is a series of vaccinations we have to give her and did the first one today. A Hepatitis B shot to the thigh. Mrs Co.Il was in tears and I couldn't bear to look as the needle descended into her thin flesh. To her credit she was a real trooper and only cried for about 20 seconds before returning to her permanent chilled state.

Being that relaxed about needles is one thing which definitely doesn't come from my side of the family.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

What's the Meaning of This?

Had my ritual Shabbat afternoon Scrabble game with my mother-in-law yesterday.

Problem is that when you play Scrabble you are only as good as your opponent's vocabulary. If they don't know a word, they will protest and possibly not allow it.

Furthermore, my MIL says that you can only play a word if you know the meaning of it. This isn't in the rules and I couldn't disagree more with this approach.

Came to a head when I wanted to play TAJ which has nothing to do with the Taj Mahal but is infact a "tall conical cap worn by Muslims as a headdress of distinction".

I didn't know this at the time but its besides the point. Unfortunately our only point of reference was an English-Hebrew dictionary and I wasn't allowed to play it.

Scrabble is like doing a multiple choice test. All that matters is that you colour in the right circle - your reasons for doing so are irrelevant. If your word proves to be illegitimate you lose your turn.

Not that it mattered we had a nice schmooze while we were playing and that's what it is all about.

Coming Home

Unfortunately Yakira's first Shabbas was spent in the hospital due to her showing some signs of jaundice.

So we had the Shabbat Bat with neither her or Mrs Co.Il in attendance.
The time alone, however did allow Mrs Co.Il time to bond with YM and at three days old she is already starting to develop a personality of her own.

Also amazing to see how much she has grown and changed in simply a matter of days such as her features which are now more defined than they initially were.

Will be good to have both of them home.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Three's Company

There is nothing quite like the feeling of holding your new born child in your arms. After nine months plus 10 days of pregnancy as well as quite a lengthy labor, I can tell you that every single second is worth it.

Getting married is great but seeing the fruits of it is just amazing. Anyone can get 'knocked up' but when it comes on the form of an act of love and commitment it can’t be described in words.

Holding Yakira and naming her were just incredibly special moments but of course all credit must be given to Mrs Co.Il who did an exceptional job. I am both very lucky and privileged to have her as my wife and the mother of my daughter.

“Enough of the mushy stuff”, I hear you say. “Give us the dirt!” So here it is.

Let’s go back in time 100 years, all the way back to Tuesday.

Tuesday August 29

I go to work in Tel Aviv because there is no point sitting around doing nothing.

Mrs Co.Il is seeing her doctor and I am on red alert waiting for the call.

Get the call that they are going to begin inducing her and I should make my way back to Jerusalem.

Get on the bus.

The bus breaks down just on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Get into a passing bus which lets us all in.

Arrive at hospital. Mrs Co.Il is hooked up to a monitor and the baby is moving well and has a good heart beat.

Sitting in the waiting room.

Get up to stretch. At this point I should bring up that the waiting room was pretty crowded and there was a steady stream of people coming in and out the whole day. Suffice to say that most of them are wearing Crocs.

Told to go and take our stuff to the inducing room where they will begin the process.

Chilling in the confines of the inducing room waiting to start when a screaming woman is rushed through and they begin the process of delivering her baby. Normally they wouldn’t use the inducing room for delivery but things are so crazy that there are no spare beds. Her scream was the most primal thing I have ever heard. As if like Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters she was taken over by some other spirit or being. Suffice to say my comments don’t go down too well with Mrs Co.Il.
Evicted from the room and sent back to the waiting room.

4.30pm – 11pm
We are just sitting around waiting for someone to tell us what is going on. After a while you get used to the fact that hospital time is not like how time is on the outside.
In the hospital, five minutes means one hour. Soon is 90 minutes. Just a sec is three hours. The sooner you understand and come to terms with this, the better.

Thankfully there is a new mall at Hadassah-Ein Karem which has an assortment of shops and eateries. They are all fine as long as you don’t mind spending 45 NIS for a sandwich and 24 NIS for a cup of coffee.

After a while start thinking that a hospital is pretty much like an airport. You spend long amounts of time just sitting around waiting, food costs a fortune and isn’t very good and after a while, you forget what the time is or even the day. The nurses are like the stewardesses and the doctors are the captains.

We will call it a night. My in-laws go home to get some rest while Mrs Co.Il and I will sleep at the hospital so we can start early the next day.

Wednesday August 30
Lying on a linoleum floor by the side of Mrs Co.Il’s bed. Uncomfortable and my neck hurts but so tired that it doesn’t matter.

Get the call that a room back in the inducing room is open so we make our way down there.

They hook Mrs Co.Il up to the monitor.

Move Mrs Co.Il back to the inducing room where we were almost a day ago. They are about to get the Pitocin hooked up.

Does every single person who works in the hospital wear Crocs as well? Is it because they all get a discount? Did they go bare foot before Crocs?

The Pitocin is doing its thing but still only 3cm.

Pain is starting to kick in and epidural is the only way to go. Mrs Co.Il wanted to try to go the distance

Go get something to eat.
Bump into our friend, Shula at Café Ne’eman. Shula works in the hospital and her grandmother lives in our building. It’s also Shula’s birthday today. Happy Birthday Shula.

Have now gone about 30 hours without any internet access. Unless it’s Shabbat or Yom Tov usually only go about 30 minutes without.

Joni, our excellent doula, is doing her thing. Calming the nerves of Mrs Co.Il and focusing her energy. Now about 5cm and the effacement is excellent. We could have a daughter in a couple of hours.

Go to the 24 hour Aroma where I get an omelet sandwich. Maybe they could make a sequel to the Terminal about a guy trapped in a hospital.

We’re now up to about 8cm and we could be in business awfully soon.

Thursday 31 August
The doctor is now here and has had a look. We are a go and the four of us (Mrs Co.Il, Doctor, Doula and Dot Co Dot Il) are about to get ready for the final push.

Pushing on the contractions and making some great progress. My job is to hold Mrs Co.Il’s hand and help her to try and channel her efforts when she pushes. She does three pushes at a time each of which goes for 10 seconds. In between we breathe, regroup and chill.

She is making her way and we can see the head. In-between the pushes we can hear the whimpering of the grandparents-to-be who are awaiting their first grandchild.

More pushing. This is it. In a matter of moments we are about to have a daughter. Couldn’t be more proud of Mrs Co.Il. Her dedication and efforts have been phenomenal and she single-mindedly averted the chances of having to have a C-section. After being induced and having the epidural she doesn’t want to give in on the C-section.

The baby slides out and is beautiful. Amazing to think that, with the help of Hashem, we were able to create a person. She has a cute little nose and adorable little hands. At first glance, her face looks like mine but from the waist down, she looks like Mrs Co.Il.

Everyone is in tears.

I cut the umbilical cord and do it without passing out.

Mrs Co.Il is holding our baby and getting to know her. Kodak Magic Moment time.

With a nurse, I accompany my daughter upstairs to the newborn section. Feels weird to say 'my daughter' but I can get used to it! She is there with all of the other ones. They do some tests on her and then she gets some sleep.

Get home. Turn on the TV and see the Yankees are playing the Tigers. Watch an inning and then go to bed.

Get up and go to shul to name her.

So that is it in a nutshell. Have probably left out a heap of details but the last few days have been a blur. Having a Shabbat Bat tonight so if you are in the area, pop round. We’d love to see you.