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:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Doing the crawl

[Photo: Rimonit appearing to be in need of a rescue from her cousin's embrace.]

RP is on the forward march. She has been consistently creeping/slithering/scooting forward, as well as practicing the crawl position, since Wednesday night - Erev Yom Ha'atzmaut which, if you'll permit me a moment of pretentious melodrama, was also the eve of Rimonit's burgeoning independence.

For those unfamiliar with the pre-crawl crawl, just think of a snake with arms and legs. She kind of propels herself forward with her legs and forearms, though she sometimes goes backwards when she appears to have intended to move forward. Actually, what she most looks like is a swimmer doing the crawl on dry land.

But although doing the crawl should not be confused with actually crawling, it's clear the next phase is imminent, as Rimonit has set herself a consistent training regimen to get her in gear for crawling. Not wanting to give too much away, she has refused to reveal the deadline by which she plans to reach her goal. However, observers note that regularly getting on all fours is a pretty sure sign of impending crawlingness, even if for the time being it is succeeded by a collapse to the floor and a blithe return to one's previous preoccupation (namely, getting to the TV cords).

It's pretty cool to see her sight an object of interest and then swim toward it ponderously, with conscious intent, effort visible in every movement. I know that it won't be long before she'll be moving around with even greater ease, but for now I'm having fun watching her steady progression, which somehow manages to be simultaneously incremental and lightning-fast.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

You win some, you lose some

On the one hand...

Givatayim and Ramat Gan have a style of Yom Ha'atzmaut decorations I never noticed in Jerusalem. In J'lem, there are flags decorating the windows of apartments, which are put up by individual tenants, there are decorations that companies or government ministries put up on their buildings, and there are the municipal decorations in the streets. Another type that I haven't seen over there but I've seen a lot in Givatayim/Ramat Gan (including outside our building) is blue and white decor put up by the va'ad bayit (building committee) of large apartment buildings - meaning that not only are the individual apartments all flagged up as per tenant discretion, but so is the facade of the whole building. For instance, the walkway leading from the street to our building's front door is festooned with blue and white ribbons, and the new 20+ story buildings across the street have blue and white ribbons running down the outside of the building.

Not sure if the increased va'ad bayit participation in Yom Ha'atzmaut that I am seeing in the TA region has any significance whatsoever, but it's been interesting to observe the differences. It's probably just because there are more tall apartment buildings here. It might also be a function of the va'ad bayit being more involved, kind of like a condo board maybe? (But fortunately without the selection criteria, for the most part.)

On the other hand...

I was rather surprised to see two Jews for Jesus guys handing out pamphlets on a corner in Givatayim yesterday. Didn't say anything to them. I always kind of feel like I'm supposed to say/do something, but what? Tell them Jews don't believe in human deities? Gee, I'm sure they've never heard that before. Once in NY I took their pamphlet and ripped it up in front of them and walked on, but what good did that do?

Final score: Laurel for the building decor, Dart for J4J (to use Targum terminology). Givatayim comes out even.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Stop the presses!

While at work this evening, I received an urgent report from the husband manning the Home Front, to wit: Rimonit has crawled! Forward, no less!

I have not actually witnessed this exciting phenomenon yet, but I am told by sources familiar with the case that the incident in question was precipitated by the shrimp's inability to resist the lure of rustling paper being filed. Compelled to do some crinkling herself, she lifted her tummy off the floor and moved forward an inch, dropping down in exhaustion. As the "crumple crumple" sound continued (hey, is that an onomatopoeia, or merely an entrenched mental association? hmm, something to ponder...), she kept up her belly flops until reaching her clamorous goal. Can't wait to see for myself...

This is her third major milestone in the last two to three weeks alone:
- She just got her first tooth - and already she's sprouting what look like three more (one more on the bottom, next to the first one, two on the top)
- She can sit unsupported (which she did for about an hour and a half on Shabbat, quietly playing on her own!!)
- She has added the backwards slither to her repertoire of rolling all over the place (well, mostly toward the TV cords) and pivoting in a circle (a combo that enables her to get wherever she wants, even without the crawl).

She just turned eight months old yesterday.