Bitchavua Tov

The day (almost) dawns to find me in (not entirely) rare fighting mode. I’m pissed off and bitey, and it’s a happy little combination of horse manure-like occurrences that have fueled this situation.

For starters, why do clients who no longer wish to be clients not have the courtesy to TELL YOU? I plan my work week according to the work I have on my plate. With the 50% job, this is made simple for me, as I do not set my own priorities, rather someone else does (my boss). But with the other 50% of my time, if someone asks me to do something for them, and we agree on how, when, and how much, then I budget my time accordingly around kids, other work, housewifely (ha!) duties and so on. In this case, it was an American style CV, as soon as possible with a finished and polished copy by the end of the week. “Yes, I need it really urgently” said the customer. “Sure, no problem,” quoth I, and we left the conversation with the understanding that the customer would send me a CV in Hebrew for me to translate, upgrade, polish, reformat, add a cover letter to and generally perform on it the magic that is TrollMamma in as short a time-frame as possible. When I received nothing by the end of  yesterday, I called the customer, only to hear some pathetic lame excuse. Dude — man up. Screw up your courage, grab your balls in your hand — and tell me that you don’t need me to reserve my precious time for YOU before the end of the week. It’s called MANNERS. Don’t leave me shaking in the wind like a disconnected todger. Jesus!

Ahem. Next.

How wrong is it to have the expectation that a graphic designer be able to take a concept and run with it? Phrases such as “image demonstrating resigned and not-unhappy managers” should be straightforward enough, you would think, yes? Apparently not. The whole point of being a graphics designer is to be able to hear a concept, be inspired and let your imagination run with it. It is not solely to be able to create flash films, and trawl Google Images. Christ man, *I* can do that — why would I need you? And you, in being inadequate and pathetic, are running the risk of making me look bad. I kept my end of the bargain in this project, i met with the client, understood their vision, and produced the work requested of me, on time, on budget and to the immense satisfaction of the client — and you almost ruined it by being so bad at the profession at which you claim to specialize.

All in all, it has been a major-league WTF week. May next week bring the sweetness, light, fluffy bunnies, unicorns and bright sparkly things that pacify and please me. Shavua tov, y’all.

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Heee

Old, but amusing — and still, sadly, so apt.

RULES FOR GRAMMAR

1. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat).

6. Always avoid annoying alliteration.

7. Be more or less specific.

8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

9. Also, too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

10. No sentence fragments. No comma splices, run-ons are bad too.

11. Contractions aren’t helpful and shouldn’t be used.

12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.

14. One should never generalize.

15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

16. Don’t use no double negatives.

17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

19. Analogies in writing are like water on the back of a duck.

20. The passive voice is to be ignored.

21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.

22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice.

23. Kill all exclamation points!!!!

24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

25. Understatement is probably not the best way to propose earth-shattering ideas.

26. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.

27. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “I hate quotations. Tell me
what you know.”

28. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.

29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.

30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

31. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

32. Who needs rhetorical questions?

33. Exaggeration is a million times worse than understatement.

34. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

35. The spell chequer is knot always write.

 

The Natural Blonde

I did something so unbelievably daft over this weekend, that I absolutely have to document it for posterity. Or pastority. Something, definitely.

It is clear that the rot is seeping into the very darkest and undusted crevices of the lump of grey matter that I laughing refer to as my brain.

I woke up, and realised that I was just in time to not enjoy my customary and oh-so-necessary five-minute snooze if I wanted to shower *and* wash my hair and get myself and my daughter out of the house in time. Bummer. Suckworthy. Aval ein ma la’asot.

So up I get, and begin abluting, and I know all you men (all three of you who bother reading here) will fail to understand the significance of a hairwashing day as opposed to a non-hairwashing day, so I shall enlighten you. Don’t groan, it won’t hurt and it will only take a minute. Being of blonde hair of the natural variety, my hair has a specific period where it can be termed “looking good”. In the winter, this can be anything between 12 and 24 hours straight. In the summer, particularly on a humid day, I can get away with a couple of hours, if confined to air-conditioned surroundings with no respite to allow in the sticky summer air. I have a window of opportunity that presents itself between laying my trusty hairdresser’s model hairdryer to rest, and grabbing my cup of tea and computer bag, and heading out of the door towards the car, which, if I time it right, enables me to retain some semblance of okayness about my hair and thus arrive for work not looking as though I’d taken a post-shower shower, while clothed.

Yes, I am extremely vain. And?

Into the aforementioned window of opportunity, I squeeze making myself breakfast-on-the-go, packing up my computer with all relevant papers and accoutrements, and rousing my 7-going-on-15 year-old daughter from her mattress — usually a feat best achieved when using an industrial spatula — or “schpachtel” as they are known here. Using my innate sense of persuasion, plus the usual hefty bribe, I succeed in my attempts, and she gets up, washed and dressed in a relatively short amount of time. Her brother is thankfully sleeping over at a friends’, greasing the wheels of my morning rituals to the extent that at 7.40 on the dot we are ready to go.

Quietly, I poke my head around the door at my slumbering husband, whose occasional yet thundering snores leave me believing that he’s still asleep. Clearly a far lighter sleeper than I suspected, in response to my tiny whispered “Bye, dear, we’re going..!” he rolls over with all the elegance of a phlegmatic walrus and mumbles “where you going?”

I adopt my best “ke’ilu duh” stance, and raise a sardonic eyebrow at him.

“Well, it’s Sunday, so, you know, I *thought* i’d pop into work. That place where they pay me to show up on a Sunday — remember?”

He rubs the sleep from one eye, and eyebrows back at me. (Dammit. I’ve taught him too well. Bugger.)

A beat, and then:

“It’s Saturday, you daft bint.”

Ahem.

See, the naturally blonde are a logistically challenged species. Not always, not all of us, but I am, and for the rest of my life.

Apparently.

😎

New mid-years resolution

According to my friend Midlifesinglemum, midsummer’s night (last night) is a more fruitful and positive time to plan and execute resolutions than new year’s day.

OK, I’ll buy that. And here I am.

I approach supermarket shopping on a Friday morning with trepidation, fear and strategic tactical planning. If I can arrive at the supermarket by 8, it’s worth my while. Much later, and it’s a lost cause. The cost of the shopping, overpriced at the best of times, is far outweighed by the cost to my physical and mental health, of dealing with all the other last-minute, panic-buying, fear-of-starvation-over-a-1.5-day-weekend shoppers. It’s lucky we don’t have an official Christmas here. If we did, the Israelis would knock London’s frantic Christmas eve shoppers into a cocked hat.All this is not to mention the joy of parking at the very farthest end of the car park, necessitating an unpleasant and sweaty uphill climb, pushing a loaded trolley, upon my return to the car, browbeaten by the other shoppers and thoroughly disheartened.

Today I rolled up at precisely 7.59, parked in a reasonably close-to-store space, and fetched a trolley prior to joining the others waiting for the doors to open. 8.2 passes and the hordes are beginning to get restless, as they stand, massed in a bottlenecked lump at the entrance to the store. The trolley-jostling begins, and I feel the familiar rising panic felt when one finds oneself in any kind of queue in Israel, in any situation you care to name. It’s like an airborne infection — “must get in there, mustn’t let them ahead of me, cannot be last or the sky will fall in, cluck bah buh-cuck chicken licken!” The worst thing about it is that one is barely conscious that the sickness has been contracted until it’s way too late and one is glaring death by dagger eyes at the woman who pulled a fast one and nipped ahead in line. I consider myself in recovery from this disease, and practice taking long slow breaths, and reminding myself that the sky will not fall in if i get into the store two minutes later than I had hoped. Mostly it works, but this is Israel, and I am nothing if not flexible. 🙂 Today, I observed the scene, allowing the little man in my head to take notes, while I stood, outwardly calm*, waiting to start my Friday morning shopping experience.

Once inside, it’s like the highway rules apply, but with trolleys. In my head I hear Murray Walker providing the commentary, as I skillfully (or not so much) maneuver my trolley around people, corners, and other abandoned trolleys. Today we witnessed a close moment upon entering the frozen foods section, when someone came up on my inside edge and overtook, only to be scuppered by a man with an unusally shaped stomach, disproportionate to the rest of his body, who was intent on reading the labels of every single packet of frozen chicken liver, so i made my move and sailed past the finish line — known to supermarket employees as the cheese fridge.

😎

An hour later and I sit here at home, rested, breakfasted and refreshed, fulfilling my new mid-year resolution — to write more. I only hope that for those of you not currently residing in the Holy Land, I’ve enabled you to enjoy a tiny slice of life in what my friend Liza calls “this neck of the desert”.

A gutte shabbes.

*Inwardly dying for a pee.

The best and worst concert I ever heard

I have really wanted to see Dylan for years and years. And so last night, I went — but I couldn’t tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it, because that, gentle reader, would be a big fat stonking fuck-off lie.

(Oh, by the way, if you faint at the sound or sight of the word fuck, you clearly haven’t spent much time with me.)

My husband is, I believe, his biggest fan. Ever. Not just in the country, not even just in the entire EMEA landmass. His. Biggest. Fan. Ever. Anywhere.

Anyone who knows my husband, knows that his love for me comes second — that Dylan is his one true love. (In an esoteric and entirely non-sexual way.)  He listens to his music almost-but-not-quite exclusively, refers to him as the king (sorry, Elvis fans, your guy has truly left the building as far as my husband is concerned), reveres him thoroughly and quotes him at the drop of a hat. He actually described our wedding as “a really good night, almost as good as the Dylan concert in the Mann auditorium”.

I shit you not.

The idea of seeing such a powerful and significant figure — literally, a living legend in the music industry over the past 50-odd years also resonated with me, and enormously so. It seemed incontheivable that such an event would not pay off, emotionally, and artistically — whatever the outcome.  I’ve been a fan of his poetry for many years, although his more recent music, while good and enjoyable, is not my most beloved cup of tea (although it is up there with other teacups, to fully stretch a metaphor).

So when I heard that Dylan and Paul Simon were coming to Israel this summer, I was all gung-ho and excited about seeing two living legends — one of whom I’d already seen (Rhythm of the saints, Wembley, 1990) and the other who has pretty much accompanied my relationship and 14-year marriage like a sort of musical gooseberry.

A quick review of the financial situation, and my good sense quickly indicates to me that it will have to be one or t’other. I was torn. What to do? Then my sister, god bless her, helped make the decision for me, by asking, pleading and finally guilt-tripping me into babysitting my nephews so that she and her husband could go to see Paul Simon. (“You know how difficult it is for Elder Nephew to get to sleep, and with any other babysitter he’ll never sleep and it’ll be a complete nightmare and he won’t sleep which means none of us will sleep properly for a week, and I haven’t slept properly since Younger Nephew was born, and we never get to go out anywhere beyond 9 o’clock in the evening anymore, and please please please please do this for me!!!“)

All that guilt-tripping worked. Although, since I am not without guilt-tripping powers of my own, i have managed to bag myself a Paul Simon t-shirt as a babysitting fee. Heck, I missed Paul McCartney and survived — I’ll survive this too.

Which left me financially resourceful enough to afford a ticket to Dylan. Not a front row seat, because at 1000 NIS a pop, that’s way too rich for my blood. Plus, I thought to myself, I’ll see the stage from afar and close-ups on the screen.

Oh, the irony.

It was just about the worst big-scale concert I’ve ever attended. In front of our section stood a screen, ostensibly situated to enhance the visual experience for those of us sat 3 miles from the stage. However, the positioning of the screen meant that everyone in my section could ONLY see the screen; the stage was completely blocked from view — a feat of idiocy unparalleled in my experience. When the show did start, after the warm-up acts (Ricki Lee Jones with “Chuck E’s in Love” — wonderful, she still sounds like a 19 year old when she sings), the cameraman (please note, singular) kept the camera in place at all times. On the whole stage. No close-ups of the raddled old hippy, with his broad-brimmed, stylish and utterly daft hat. Nada. And to add final insult to injury, just at the beginning of the encore set, all the screens went blank. All of them. No one could see anything other than bright lights and what appeared to be ants playing guitars, one of whom sported a broad-brimmed, stylish and utterly daft hat.

As my friend Sandi texted to me from section 12 (I was in section 16) — “WTF??? For this I paid good money???

Laura Chiesa at Inside Out speaks of a “special look people have when they are trying to decide if they have been screwed, and how deeply.” Believe me, I sported said look on my face until past 2 a.m. Of the many concerts i have attended in my lifetime, both here and in the UK, I have never left a venue quite so unsure of whether I’d had a great or crappy evening. And there have been many venues and many concerts — Royal Albert Hall (Sting, Al Jarreau), the old Wembley stadium (Bruce Springsteen, Genesis, Dire Straits),  to name but two.

To be honest, I’m glad I went, because he played a stonker of a concert — despite his surly and uncommunicative presence . Please god i should be rocking out like that when I’m 70.

But I tell you now, I will not rest until I have exacted my terrifying vengeance on that production company. As they say in Hebrew, boosha ve cherpa, translated by Morfix as “shame on you! Fie! Unacceptable and disgusting”.

To say the least.

UPDATE: Ha’aretz seems to agree with me — although they describe the music better than I did, and apparently no screen blocked their view at all.

Oh, and one more thing. There was an utterly delightful and charmless girl and her doped-up, spacey boyfriend, who left their comfortable good-view-of-the-stage seats to stand in the aisle and slob all over each other — seemingly prior to leaving, since it was already well into the encore — and  then refused to let anyone else sit on them, possessively and snippily claiming that they were “stretching their legs”, if we “didn’t mind” and that “the floor is free”. It was a sheer delight to make the acquaintance of such sociopathic selfishness, rudeness and anti-social behaviour, and once I’m done with the production company, I’m coming after you. 😎

Will someone please explain

…why it is that when my kids hurt, my heart breaks, over and over again?

And how the blinkety-blimin’-‘eck  I’m supposed to stop it, or do something about it?

I can’t bear it when they hurt — emotionally as much as if not more so than physically.It creates a black hole inside me, that sucks all the life and positivity out of me, and i just want to hold them and rock the pain away. You know, as if they’d even let me near.

Oy. Help.

Second verse…

So I ask the question: how does one neutralize the animosity between two trolls, when there is no school and little distraction during a looooooooong stretch of godforsaken holiday that is rendering their mother half-bald, and fully-insane?

This is a perennial problem only exacerbated by said holiday, natch, but there you go… still needs working out.

Had a chat yesterday with the smaller troll. On occasion she has been known to demonstrate a far wider understanding and deeper level of maturity than her four-years-senior brother — but since other occasions have also seen her throw The Tantrum To End Them All, there is no guarantee here. I approached the subject with my customary wit and charm, resisting the urge to scream “just listen and understand what I’m saying, goddammit!”, knowing that such an approach would be of little help in either the short or long run.

“Darling, come here and give me a hug.”

An eye-roll of Cecil B. de Mille-like proportions, a begrudging hug, and a wary look.

“Why, what have I done now?”

Oh, the cynicism of the young.

I reassured her that all was well, but stressed that I wanted her to think about her relationship with her brother. Her knee-jerk response was predictable enough to rival the clocks at Greenwich.

“It’s his fault, he always starts it!”

Finally, the long-suffering trollpappa and I came up with an incentive that seems to be working. We acquiesced to the constant clamour of “Can we get a dog? Please please please we want a dog can we have a dog we’ll look after it and take it for walks and feed it and everything we promise please can we have a dog please please please” with a promise to seriously consider getting a dog if the trolls can act like human beings to each other for 2 months.

Would you credit it, the thing is working. We have a daily chart, where they are each awarded a “V” (tick/checkmark), or an “X” — or a “Vex” (combination of the two) accoridng to their efforts in speaking to their sibling like a human being and reducing the stress level around here.  I would not have credited either of them with the pateince or ability to be so civil — but they both have it, and apparently in spades.

The words “holy fuck” spring to mind. (Then I remember the curse fine tin in my kitchen drawer — to which is added five shiny new pennies each time anyone in the house curses by said person, myself included of coursem because I am, you will be astonished to hear, quite profane in a bordering-on-tourettic kind of way — and amend said phrase-spring to “Holy Moly!”) Is this too good to be true, I ask myself.

Update next week, promise.

😎