the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm it

I've been tagged by Live From Israel to respond to the blog equivalent of chain mail - in this case, a list of 8 facts/habits about myself. However, since this is, after all, my blog, I'm going to bend the rules a little (a lot?) and not post the original rules, tag anyone else or provide the requested number of responses. Oh, and also, I'm gonna answer a completely different question.

Herewith, 4 foods I like to eat (or, if you're a traditionalist, 4 facts/habits about me, as pertains to my eating lifestyle):

1. Cherry tomatoes (preferably fresh from the garden, but straight from the shuk is good too)

2. Chocolate chips (and please don't dilute them with milk, I want the bittersweet kind. Oh, and none of that "white chocolate" crap either. I don't know who invented that oxymoron, but calling a substance chocolate when it doesn't have any chocolate in it just may be the food scam of the century. Hmm, I wonder if those Nigerian spammers started it? You know, "Just wire me all your money and I promise to send you some white chocolate in return." And the inevitable response: "Gee, that sounds like a great deal, I better call my bank right now." But I'm getting sidetracked here...)

3. Meatballs and spaghetti (preferably with pickles, extra sauce and, of course, Tropicana orange juice)

4. Mint chocolate-chip ice cream (this could also be on a list called "Foods that America should start shipping over to Israel, and pronto." I still have to restrain myself from salivating every time I see green ice cream in Israel - which in this country, bizarrely enough, signals that all-time summer fave: pistachio flavor.)

Mmm, I think I'm getting hungry...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Expecting the unexpected

Being pregnant in Israel comes with its own share of what feel like only-in-Israel moments - though I confess that not having gone through the experience in any other country, I'm not actually able to compare them with not-in-Israel moments.

Fortunately, I have yet to have random strangers reaching out to touch me, a hazard I have been warned to expect - though with a couple months to go, I'm not ruling anything out.

My first random stranger experience took place in the beginning of my sixth month, when I still wasn't sure if people I didn't know could discern my, er, condition. As I was waiting for a traffic light to change in Tel Aviv, a pregnant woman joined me on the sidewalk and asked when I was due.

Somehow, the rest of the waiting time and the actual street-crossing time were long enough for her to let me know that it seems everyone she was in school with is now expecting a child and, moreover, that now that she too has swallowed a watermelon, she's discovered pregnant women sticking out (belly first?) of every nook and cranny.

A friend told me she wasn't surprised the exchange took place in Tel Aviv, because there are so many pregnant women in Jerusalem (which, completely coincidentally, has a very high Haredi population) that no one even looks twice in the holy city.

All the same, it was in Jerusalem that I had what I consider to be my most Israeli pregnancy moment so far.

As I was standing on the corner of my block during a recent heat wave, trying to hail a cab because it was just too hot and disgusting to walk to work, an Israeli guy strolled by, felafel in hand, all prepped to display the "Don't worry, I know what's best for you" attitude that manages to beat the laws of supply and demand. (The supply of this attitude in Israel far exceeds normal per capita needs, yet there is no demand that I can discern - has the government considered export?)

"Sister, you should stand in the shade a little!" he exhorted in Hebrew. And then, because I had clearly forgotten: "You're pregnant!"