Is it okay to root for the same contestant in two different talent shows?
Some 7-8 years ago Hungary’s iconic rock opera, István a király (Stephen the King) turned 25, and while the original singers had been performing it constantly, it was time for a brand new cast. Seeing the success of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do public television decided to go against Megasztár, Hungary’s American Idol clone, and search for the new cast in a television show.
József Wunderlich was around 18 at that time. He was one of my two top picks for the lead role (eventually it went to my other top pick, and József got cast in a minor role). Here is a duet of my two top picks from the final of the Társulat. Pál Feke is Death, in black, József is Rudolf, is in white, and they are singing a song from the musical Elisabeth.
At the time Pál Feke was an established musical actor in Hungary, and he took a great risk entering the competition, which he eventually won. József was freshly out of high school, a literal unknown. Now he has graduated from Hungary’s university of performing arts, theatre and film studies, and he has starred in numerous musical productions.
Yesterday was the final casting episode of the 5th season of X Faktor in Hungary. Wunderlich József was one of the contestants. Because of the TV channel’s outdated ideas about youtube, I can’t embed his performance, but you can watch it clicking here.
Can I just say I know who I want to win this year?
Shana Tova, my dear readers! It is finally 5775! As you all know, I am not keeping kosher, but I made a resolution to avoid (knowingly) eating pork and non-kosher seafood for 5774. It was a long, long year. Quite literally: this was one of the longest a Jewish calendar year could be, with a leap month. In the beginning it was difficult, but got easier as the year progressed. A reliable supply of turkey bacon and coconut oil made things a lot easier.
Rosh Hashanah is often called the Jewish new year. I have explained two year ago that we have three other new year celebrations as well. Rosh Hashanah marks the “anniversary” of Adam’s creation. Please don’t take that very seriously from my mouth: I’m an evolutionist, and I firmly believe that if G-d exists and He chose to reveal how the world was created to someone in our time rather than to some semi-nomadic Bronze age shepherds, we’d get a very different impression of creation than the two differing accounts in Genesis.
Now back to Rosh Hashanah. In our congregation the new lay leadership takes over on the first morning of Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is the holiday that is two days long both in the Diaspora and in Israel, and there was alsways doubt when the new year, with the new leadership begins. It doesn’t help that Jewish days overlap for about an hour, thus the years as well. I was part of the leadership in 5773 and 5774, but I didn’t “run” for a position in 5775, because of a conflict of interest: Kevin is now hired by the lay leadership of our congregation. I was quite surprised that I was still nominated… to the women’s committe. Talk about gender equality! I didn’t get the position, but I am volunteering to assist the lady who was actually elected. I worked with her the past two years as she was in charge of our internal audits.
I just signed up for Kindle Unlimited because they offer a 30 day trial, and unlimited access to over 700,000 Kindle books for $9.99 per month. and I can read these books on my Kindle, my iPad, iPod, Android Phone, and my laptop. The free app is available here (and if you sign up for it, I get a bounty): Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices but even if I didn’t, I’d highly recommend it. While my preferred way to read e-books is still my Kindle Paperwhite (available for $119) I love that my various devices synchronise where I am in a book, and I can easily switch between them with the app.
In the past 24 hours since signing up I found several books to use for homeschool, and yeah, not having access to a huge English language library, this is just plain awesome for us. If I read one book per month, then I’m already doing great for my money.
Back to Rosh Hashanah. Kevin’s brother’s family came to TA from Jerusalem for the long holiday weekend. It is always nice to see them. Adding their four kids to our crowd means no extra work, and our kids love each other. Having them over involved special holiday activities, like explaining fractions to our niece, and then today reinforcing the same lesson using oranges and apples. Then we ate all the oranges and apples. Isn’t homeschool awesome?
While my BaIL (brother-almost-in-law) was here, the details about the visit of two of their siblings over winter-no-not-Christmas-we-are-very-PC-but-it-happens-to-be-between-Christmas-and-New-Year’s vacation. We are excited, as they will arrive with their spouses and combined 5 kids on December 21, and leave only on December 28. This year Chanukah ends on December 24, so they will be here for the second half of our kids’ Chanukah break. They will split time between TA and Jerusalem, with a big Christmas celebration in Jerusalem. We were invited for that, but we politely declined, and I think all sides feel some relief about that!
I’m absolutely amazed by the versatility of my slow cooker.
I love dried vegetable mixes, but I don’t like the amount of salt that the commercially sold ones generally have. Some of those seem to have more salt than the Dead Sea! A friend shared how she makes her own mixes, using her oven. Now oven drying vegetables would be too hot here now, so she suggested I try my slow cooker… and it worked! It might not be as brightly coloured as the stuff bought at the store, but they taste really good and they rehydrate well. I use the ground one in my home made ramen, or when I cook pasta, for some additional flavour.
On the crunchy parent theme: after trying everything I could to get rid of dandruff, Jill gave me the solution: weekly or biweekly coconut oil treatment. It seriously works. I love it. Of course it comes back, so I have to do it again, but I am currently very excited to have my scalp under control. Plus my kids’ hair loves coconut oil. Another trick for awesome hair, from a less crunchy source, is drinking diet meal replacement shakes for a snack/making popsicles from them. The one we prefer is loaded with vitamins and minerals and it works wonders on our skin, hair and nails. Also the one we prefer is not sold through an MLM and costs about $10 for a box of twenty meal replacement shakes, that we stretch into 40 snacks.
So, my goal of posting every week of the year fell through. With everything going on this summer, I just felt pretty burnt out for blogging that while I have ideas of what i wanted to write, I never did. So the numbering in the post titles is now CW–calendar week–instead of the number of the post this year.
So m kids started school again. Ezra and Shiri are enrolled in school, and they started Kitah Alef (first grade) on September 1. In Israel, like in much of Europe, kindergarten is not part of actual school, so school starts in first grade. The twins are loving school life. I think part of the reason is that to help kids process the events of this past summer, transition weeks were inserted in the curriculum. Several of the kids in the school come from as far south as Ashdod and even the kids from the TA area had some traumatic experiences. My “grandson” Harel started gan, and he is loving it as well. so everyone is happy with school. Except Kevin's mom, who helps with homeschool this year. Her beggest complaint? By the time she goes over to ours after her morning job, most of the kids are already done with the work for the day. It really shows most of the kids don't share my DNA: they are morning people.
Mentioning DNA, my family just grew considerably. Apparently Ashkenazi Jews are all 30th cousins,mwith genetics that are alike to 4th and 5th cousins, due to having the same 350 people as our ancestors–with a small handful of European women as our ancient mothers. I thought that our family reunions were huge, but really, they are nothing compared to all the Ashkenazi Jews. And you know what's awesome? Every time someone of Ashkenazi Jewish descent accomplishes something, I can say, “Yeah, we are very proud of XY's Oscar/Emmy/Nobel/Grammy, she/he is my cousin!”
I really had these 7 ideas to post about this morning, but I really have no idea what they were. I think I am still sleep deprived from the war period, and from still not being able to sleep well. Actually all I an think of right now is, “G-d, I'm so damn tired.” So so so very tired. It's Thursday, I should be flying home, but it's also 9/11 and I can't. It has been a busy ten days, with some great accomplishments, like starting to verbally communicate. Not that most people can understand even a third of what I'm trying to say, but hey, turning it into twenty questions helps!
It's raining like mad. I had a coffee of the balcony, left my empty cup outside and this is what I came back to a few minutes later:
Yesterday I saw some animals paired up, waiting at the boat stop by the Danube. A friend thinks the weather is a publicity stunt for the DVD release of Noah, and she expects Russell Crowe to show up any minute now. Apparently I was the only Israeli at the guest house who slept through the night.
A new love for me: Magyarvista Social Club. Magyarvista is a village in Transylvania (Vistea in Romanian), and the band plays Hungarian folk music inspired songs. They rock my socks. I have this thing for world music, and MVSC fits my collection of songs nicely. Like Idan Raichel (happy birthday!), they are not playing world music, they are playing music based on their culture… So it's foreigners, who label it world music!
Here is another video, which also proves the existence of overweight Europeans (as Jill pointed out).
This one is a Hungarian folk ballad with some jazz protestations against burning the wife of a mason and using her as an additive to the cement.
One of my dear friends, Jill, is considering putting together a homeschool unit on all things Jewish, and this has inspired me to move the direction of my e-book a little bit… And I'm inspired once again. Parallel to that, I'm writing a collection of short short stories, which happen to be short. Next week i'm planning to share a sneak preview if anyone is interested.
After being woken up by Code Red alarms at night, the next one came during my lunch time. We were ordered to stay in the shelters for an undetermined period, and because I had a late lunch break to start with and I was hungry, this is what happened:
a slice of pizza, a cup of apple juice, and a good book. I had just bought Steiner Kristóf’s book on iTunes ten minutes before the alarm, so I spent the next 30 minutes starting to read it. I had bought his first book when it came out, and I loved it. Unfortunately the other day I left it at Cofix (the place with the NIS 5 coffee and sandwiches–that’s like $1.45 for US folks) and when my sister called they said they couldn’t find it. Luckily, Kevin is in Budapest, and he found the book sold by one online shop. He ordered it, and he was told that it would be there by Thursday. Then an hour later he got a call that they were out of it, and the book is out of print, and sorry. Kevin had bought the two other books as well, but he told me, “Go ahead, buy them in e-book, because it will be a while before the kids are finished with them.” So I bought the only one I haven’t read, and now I’m spending my shelter time becoming a reader again.
Apparently if someone becomes part of the armed forces, people start asking them what they need. I have been asked that in the last month or so a lot of times.
To answer shortly: I don’t need anything. There are things I’d love, but those are just luxury items (like iTunes films and new socks and candy). But if you’d like to help other Israeli soldiers, you can send them hamburgers and cola, donate to the Libi fund to sponsor various projects that make our lives as soldiers easier, or partner with the Friends of the IDF. My personal favourite is the first option.
In my post about Autism and I, I mentioned that I was a difficult person. Jon commented that he didn’t think I was difficult, and that reminded me of something that happened before the madness in Israel began.
Kevin and I were trying to catch up on The Big Bang Theory. I hate to admit, but I’m a season and half behind. We were a few episodes into our marathon, when I remarked how much I loved Leonard, who is my favourite TBBT character. Kevin replied, “I’m glad, because I am Leonard to your Sheldon.” It made me laugh, because it’s very true. While I’d like to think I’m not as difficult as Sheldon, it is true that I can be difficult to live with.
You know adoption is close to my heart. I follow the adventures of other adoptive families, and the Rieben family is currently in the process of bringing three older boys (ages 5, 12 and 12) home from Bulgaria. Adopting not one, but three kids at the same time is costly, and they have started a new fundraiser to help with those costs. The dad is currently in country for the first trip, which means their boys would likely be home in 4 to 6 months!
I already participated in their fun fundraiser, and so have my two internationall adopted 5-year-olds. Join us to help the boys get home! It’s easy, and while the Riebens have an FSP, there is a way to contribute without the involvement of any grant organizations. Click here to find out more!
That, in turn, reminds me of another recent conversation, this time with Jill. I’m sure every adoptive parent has seen at least one post online what not to ask/tell adoptive parents. On top of the list is never to ask them how much their kids cost. While it’s not the most appropriate question, it usually doesn’t upset me. I either give a detailed list of costs from adoption fees to tuition, lunch money, swimming lessons etc, or let my internationally adopted daughter answer. Her standard answer? “I was free, but the process cost $37 000.”
For some odd reason this week I have been talking about how to prepare food more than I normally would. From chicken steak to challah pudding to tahini based desserts I have been discussing recipes and how to’s. I even joked about writing a cookbook, with vague measurements. But then I already have writing projects that are taking forever to finish, plus most of my food doesn’t photograph well (though tastes really good).
So what are your favourite dishes to fix? I am actually looking for a favourite spice mix for roast beef that you put together, and doesn’t involve canned or powdered soups. I am willing to share how I make steaks/chicken steak that is better than what I get at some of the nice restaurants here. I’m not even kidding. Also, yam/sweet potato recipes are welcome. I hate the stuff most of the time, but I’m willing to give it a try, because my family like it. Are they the same thing, anyway?
I liked his dramatic roles better than most of his comedic ones. Awakenings, Dead Poets Society, and Good Morning Vietnam are three of the limited number of movies I actually own on DVD. One of the three Disney movies we have is Aladdin. And before Harel Skaat, Robin Williams was, and forever is, Peter Pan.
Since his passing I’ve heard and read several stories from friends meeting him. In all of these stories the common thread was his kindness and humanity.
Now I wonder, as tragic as his death is, will it further his legacy? I feel like many people who don’t understand depression suddenly realize that if the funniest man on earth could be depressed, maybe it’s more than just attitude, more than just trusting G-d.
And now, the Westboro Baptist Church sealed it: Robin Williams was a great man, a man worthy to be seen as the enemy of those whose whole world, belief and life is built on hate.
Shabbat Shalom! This is my last Shabbat before my kids and Kevin come home! I really miss them all. Life can be too quiet even if it means lack of sleep for the rest of the year! In September I’ll have another long weekend, and we are planning a quick trip to the Dead Sea during those three days. I can’t wait to be all muddy!
Last week Jen invited me to participate in a blog hop about writing. I was more than happy to say yes, though I had no idea what I’d be answering to the four questions asked in this blog hop, but I had a general idea to who I would have liked to pass the baton in the next round.
You see, the rules are simple: I answer the four questions, introduce three bloggers, and next week they will do the same, and I’ll link to their posts. Now, just because I’m such a rebel, I’m going to introduce four bloggers, because one of them might or might not be able to continue with the blog hop, but I think she needs a mention.
So let’s see those questions!
1 – What am I writing or working on?
I have two blogs, one of which is very dormant, but I hope to resurrect soon. That one is about crocheting. I am currently working on writing some patterns and a tutorial for that blog, to resurrect it with some actual content.
Then there is this blog, where I write about things that I find interesting. It is an absolute “Me blog”.
Non blogging projects include an e-book about my Judaism. I have written a few chapters, and I now know what are some of the things I really want to include, and what I don’t.
Parallel to this, thanks to my LDS upbringing, I’m working on a family history for my kids and nieces and nephews.
2 – How does my work differ from others of its genre?
About my blog I said that it was Me blog, which used to be the standard in the LiveJournal days, but now it seems every blog out there has a theme. Not KosherKola. It is not a dad blog, not a Judaism blog, not a craft or recipe blog, not a lifestyle blog, but it contains all of those and more. I comment on politics, on books, coffee, whatever.
Hevel in the Jewish Quarter is unlike some of the Judaism 101 books out there that it doesn’t intend to include everything that could be written about Jewish life that goyim might be interested in. The e-book format allows me to refer my readers to well written sites for information or prayer texts, while I get to share what I find to be important for non-Jewish friends to understand about somewhat casual Judaism without being overwhelmed.
The family history started out as a collection of things I knew about my family. Later it grew with information about Kevin’s family, then various in-laws’ families. It is in a story telling format, because stories are more memorable, and often more important, to remember about our ancestors than cold data about dates. It also ties in nicely with my e-book project, because it includes lots of stories and experiences of Jews from Chasids in Poland to Arabic speaking families in Yemen to assimilated Jews in Hungary.
3 – Why do I write what I write?
Everything I wirte is a piece of me finding a way to be expressed. I have a hard time expressing myself offline. Part of it is my lack of Hebrew, part is just being odd.
I basically write, because I want to share a piece of me with those interested. I write, because there will be grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who might be interested in who I was. I write because I was taught to (though my cursive never really happened). I write, because it just makes sense.
4 – How does my writing process work?
My blog has at least one weekly post: the 7 Quick Takes. I always plan to write them throughout the week, but most of the time Thursday evenings see me tell my friend Jill, “I need more quick takes.” I think that will be the case tomorrow, again.
Other than that, I have some regular features: I post about holidays, Harel Skaat songs, and the Eurovision Song Contest. However, there are certain posts that take a lot of emotional involvement for me to write. Those are my best, and often most read posts. I wish I could deliver an even quality of posts at regular intervals, but I can’t.
I also do my other writing in waves. When inspiration strikes, I write pages upon pages in one sitting. Then nothing for weeks. I really lack discipline in my writing.
OK, now onto the four great bloggers and writers!
I met Jill through a Facebook group discussing international adoption ethics. She blogs at Learning Veranese, and today is her birthday! Her blog focuses on life with Down Syndrome, from a refreshing and very real point of view. In addition to being simply awesome, Jill can draw well, too, and her reluctance to give homeschooling advice made me believe that I can do it, too.
Jill is the mom to 7 of the calmest children on the planet… plus one with ants in his pants. She loves Diet Sunkist, Boden dresses, Vietnamese food, and all the noodles and baby bok choy she ate for breakfast in China. She has given up reconciling her appreciation of modern Israeli pop music with her heartdeep love of old hymns. She laughs at herself all the time because she’s as surprised as everyone else by what comes out.
Happy birthday, Jill!
My second featured blogger is Tricia. I found Tricia through Jill, and she blogs at Clean White Canvas. Our mutual love for Converse shoes proved to be a good foundation for our friendship, but my favourite thing about her is heart, that’s in every word she writes. Oh, and she made me aware of Feed The Children. I love her passion in life, in love, in faith and in education.
Tricia, like onions and ogres (according to Shrek), has “layers”—each one more complicated than the next. On the surface she lives a (relatively) typical life: mother, school administrator, freelance writer.
Despite Tricia’s best efforts to stay “unpeeled,” though, God did what Tricia couldn’t. He carved away that top layer and exposed some truths she’d hidden even from herself: a slightly feminist lesbian who struggles with guilt and grace. Tricia started her blog Clean White Canvas because she thought there might be other onions like her. Other families struggling with peeling layers (or maybe even hidden ones) who need to feel love, belonging, and acceptance.
I ran into Galit on a mutual friend’s blog about adoption from Serbia. (Do you see a trend here?) Her name made me suspicious that we might just be members of the same Tribe, and I followed the link to her blog where I learnt more about the yearly Torah cycle than I have in six years of synagogue attendance. She says about herself:
I am a mom, a teacher (M.Ed. from Harvard in math education), a thinker, an idealist, and a Jew. My blog, http://matir-asurim.blogspot.com, is a vehicle for expressing and sharing all of these aspects of who I am. I am now taking my ambitions to the next level, by starting a coffee shop as a social enterprise to create inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities (http://thepowercafe.com).
While I already enjoyed her blog, I became fascinated by her dedication to make this workd better for all of us. I mean how could a café that benefits people who are otherwise marginalized in society and sells coffee not make the world better for everyone? Make sure you check out her page to find out details and to learn how you, too can be part of Power Café!
The fourth blog I’m linking today is anonymous, written by Gloria, The Wrong Gloria. Her view of the gay agenda,
Gloria is a remedial lesbian, an experienced mom with over a 100 years of experience, a lover of Facebook chat and a useless Tweeter. She loves to sing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing to her kids and God. After a lifetime of viewing the world through a mask, she is now working to be the truest version of herself.
Now it’s these four bloggers’ turn to tell us something about writing. Make sure to check back for links to their blog hop posts!
Last week Inwas diagnosed with having an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I’m 32, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that mental health/soecial education professionals started to ask me if I had vere been diagnosed with ASD. I used to tell them that no, but I have a few other letter combinations, like RAD and PTSD. That usually was satisfactory, till just a few weeks ago.
“When were you diagnosed with RAD?” A particular clinical psychologist asked me. I told her. She shook her head. “That doesn’t fit the diagnostic criteria of RAD. I’d like to have you evaluated for Autism.” I went along with it, and last week the diagnosis was handed to me: I’m a high functioning Autistic, and while my diagnosis doesn’t state it as such, the psychiatrist discussing my results with me said, “These results are consistent with Asperger’s syndrome.” He also said that while my RAD diagnosis happened too late in life (over the age of five) to be sure it was RAD and some of my behaviours were never consistent with RAD, he doesn’t rule it out or wants to substitute one diagnosis with the other.
In making the diagnosis it was essential that for the first time ever someone who was there for my early childhood could actually answer questions and provide history. My father’s participation was essential in the process. In earlier cases either only my adoptive parents were there or no parent figure at all. Getting an anamnesis, establishing that certain behaviours appeared at certain times had not been possible. We found out that despite my difficult beginnings and separation from my parents, I developed pretty normally till I was about 20 months old.
At this point I’d like to point out that the MMR vaccine was not part of the immunization schedule in Ireland till I was about six, and I didn’t receive an MMR vaccine till I was a pre-teen. So yeah, colleration of two things still doesn’t mean a cause and effect relationship.
So what does this diagnosis mean for me? Not much. It does answer some questions I’ve had about myself. It does explain why it’s so hard to deal with change (though I can handle change, and I can be pro-active in bringing about change, but reacting to unplanned change causes discomfort). It brings the dyspraxia and the sensory issues together. It explains things. However it won’t really change my life or me. Yes, there are some services I might be eligible for, and one of those is something that I can see being useful if I ever retu rn to university. I will not refer to myself as a person with Autism (actually not the preferred term for the ASD community), or an Autistic person, and especially not as an Aspie. I won’t start wearing colourful jigsaw puzzle pieces or start advocating for Autism organizations that I haven’t been advocating for. I probably will not remember to observe Autism Day either. I won’t be joining ASD groups on Facebook or seek out blogs on the topic (though there are a few blogs I already read that addresses the topic). My identity is not of an Autistic person, even though my newly diagnosed ASD has been part of who I am, without the label. Of course it does explain my Harel Skaat obsession.
This is my experience. Being high finctioning enough that it took 30 years for a diagnosis is probably the reason why I, at this point, do not refer to myself as Autistic as my primary identity. Of course there are people who consider ASD a big part of their identities, and that is completel fine. My own experience is just that: mine. I don’t claim to know what other people with the same diagnosis experience, just as they don’t know my experience. My point is: I am still me, the difficult, the funny, the somewhat rigid, the occasionally smart, the often annoying Hevel.
We had a wonderful two and a half (or 3/4?) days of ceasefire. It ended a few hours before the 72 hours were up, and it was ended by two rockets fired from Gaza to Israel. Apparently this time it's the Islamic Jihad. Since Hamas is in control of Gaza, I truly think it makes no difference: Hamas is responsible for everything coming from the land controlled by them. It was so close to getting back to normal, but it goes on. While Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, there isn't much change for the residents of the South, and they rightfully feel abandoned by our government, when once again we declare victory, only to allow Hamas to recover and rebuild…not the houses and schools and hospitals, but their rocket arsenal and tunnels.
Last night I did something big. Well, big for me. I went to Harel Skaat's concert all by myself. That is something I normally just don't do, it is too out of my comfort zone and too different from my routine. But since Mr. Skaat's birthday, and I am pretty much all alone, I decided to go. It was a brilliant concert as usual. I somehow ended up in line to meet him and wish him a happy birthday, and somehow that line turned into going to an all night burger place (by myself) and staying out way too late.
The Priest's Wife has been advocating for avoiding cheap. Chinese products for a number of reasons. (I'll include a link as soon as I get on my laptop.) While she has some very valid points, I have done some eBay shopping from China and Hong Kong. One seller was selling knitting needles and crochet hooks for very reasonable prices. I contacted them, because I wanted the package to be sent directly to the volunteer organization of the hospital where I have taught some girls and boys to crochet. A local vendor donated some yarn, and I wanted to get the needles and hooks. He and I worked it out, and then I was surprised to see that instead of the free Economy International Shipping option he upgraded my shipping to the Express shipping free. I was already grateful for this gesture, but today I got a text from one of the volunteers at the hospital that the package arrived and, in addition to the two crochet hook sets and one knitting needle set, there were two additional sets of both, some mixed beads and charms, flexible thread and clasps for jewelery. Some of these things will go to other hospitals or activities provided by the organization.
My garden is pretty much dead. While our house sitters tried to resurrect it, the neglect from the last few weeks has really taken its toll on my poor straw bale garden! I think the root vegetables and some of our peas will make it, and everything we put in planters and pots will, too, but our beans and berries and celery sticks and flowers are beyond help. Maybe next year we won't have a war killing my garden.