Pictures will come when I am capable of moving again. Let my camera in the rental car, and there is no way in hell I am going back out there. Might be a while as we are rather zonked.
Day 1 (Thursday)- Mom is a no show. Flight is delayed. We rearrange our day, make use of the car (which the rental company screwed up so we ended up having to get a more expensive car!) to run errands, arrange for car to go back later than originally planned. Babysit for Lor's kids since we have nothing better to do anyway.
Day 2 (Friday)- wake up at 4 to go get mom from the airport. We get there as the flight is landing- so says the sign. Unfortunately, so does not say the pilot. We have hot chocolates and waste an hour watching a planeload of B'nai Akiva kids arrive for some trip. Lots of squealing and hugging. Mom comes out of the gate with more luggage than I think I have ever seen (most of it was for us) and Channah takes off at a run. We get mom home. She tries to convince us she is not tired or jet lagged before falling asleep for a few hours. We make shabbat to the sounds of a motorcycle on the couch. Shabbat dinner is great with a friend of Channah's from school and his family.
Day 3 (Shabbat)- Mom awake bright and early to go to shul. Another friend from Channah's class comes for lunch with his family. Shabbat afternoon is spent sleeping. Mom starts at the table. Thankfully, she is cute enough to get away with it. After Shabbat we grab a cab over to "BIG" (shopping centre sort of thing) and go to Aroma for real, Israeli hot chocolate (heated milk with a chocolate elite log thrown in and stirred). Mom also gets a portabello mushroom sandwhich. Mom is a happy, happy camper.
Day 4 (Sunday)- We had Channah's birthday party at school. Mom cried. At least I know from whence I get it! After gan we went down to the mercaz to give Jason some time alone to study for his oral ulpan exam which was the next morning. We did some shopping, some wandering, and then grabbed a quick dinner at a place in the mercaz. We came home, and hung out quietly around here until bed.
Day 5 (Monday)- I took mom shopping to a local clotihng place. She bought a few things and ordered in a skirt in a different size so we still had another trip there later in the week. No big deal. Then we went back to the mercaz where mom did the whole money changing thing and got some shoes. Believe it or not, when Jason met us there after ulpan (he did the oral exam- Yay!) *he* was the one who found a truly awesome pair of shoes to bring home for Deborah! We got a call from our dinner guests at 2 o'clock that they were in our driveway. We scooted into a cab and rushed home to get coffee on the table! We spent the better part of the afternoon with our cousin's Lenny and Rifka. It was nice. we had a really late, light dinner (I think... we must have fed Channah at least) and called it a night.
Day 6 (Tuesday)- Now starts the fun stuff. Mom, Channah and I got on a bus to Yerushalayim. We went to Migdal David (David's Citadel) and had a great time- until we found the lice. Then the rest of the day is as detailed in an earlier post. Jason met up with us after ulpan and we went to dinner and an incredible light show back at Migdal David. Oh, did I mention we bumped into the Hoshanders on the bus? It was also our first brush with the difficulties of taking my mom through metal detectors. The bionic woman is making life complicated... can't take her anywhere!
Day 7 (Wednsday)- Mom and I got back on the bus and went in to Yerushalayim to the Bible Lands museum. Nice museum! I had a nice time with my mom. It was the first time in a long time I remember doing anything with her just the two of us. We got home, had dinner and then loafed for the rest of the evening. I had a crapload of work so I hid out in my studio most of the night.
Day 8 (Thursday)- Mom and I went back to the dress place to look at the last skirt. She liked it- and I think one other. We went home as I needed to spend most of the day hours in the studio. After gan Mom came with Channah and I to ballet. I think she had fun watching Channah. We ran right after that to the bus as we were meeting more a bunch more cousins (Simon's) in Yerushalayim. (Bumped into Rabbi Stern and his wife on the way). We all met at the restaraunt in the middle of Centre 1. It was a lot nicer than I expected it to be! The cousins were really nice and we got some neat invitations for Shabbat away from home. We are planning to take them up as opportunities arise. Did you know it is quicker to get through security if you are carrying a gun? It seems that once they know that they do not really care what else you are carrying.
Day 9 (Friday)- Friday we rented a car (which the company screwed up yet again!) and went to the Netivot 25th Anniversary in a park not to far away called Naot Kadumim. Directions to the park were truely some of the most atrocious directions I have ever seen! At one point they actually said ot turn around and make a "U" turn without telling you why the heck you did nto just turn in the first place- and there were no signs anywhere explaining the ridiculousness of what you were doing. The event itself was nice enough- a little chaotic, but what else could I have expected? Be that as it may, part of the trip included - hiking! With my walking wounded mom... I have to give her credit though, she managed to do the whole thing with only minimal ammounts of complaining. She kept saying it was nothign compared to the Galapagos... Later that night we went to Umami-guy's place for dinner (his wife and I have become friends and the girls are in ballet together). Seriously yummy. Walking home my mom got a glimps of our not so strict parenting when we let Channah play in a park with a bunch of teenage girls at 10:30 at night...
Day 10 (Shabbat)- We did not make it to shul. Well, Jason did. The rest of us just hung out around here. Spigleman's came for lunch- well, most of them. Unfortunatly L was not feeling well and was uanble to join us. We missed him, but had a great time all the same (we also had a couple of other friends here). The kids stayed to play all afternoon. After Shabbat we were hmming and hawing about what to do, when yet another cousin called and told us she was free and would come over later. Great :) We ended up having another really nice coffee evening and not getting to bed until 2 ish.
Day 11 (Sunday)- We decided to do something a little lighter as mom was sort of tired and the rest of us were also ready for an easier day. We took our rented car to Old Yaffo. A few things to know about Old Yaffo that are not on the tourist site. First, the visitor centre and "museum" SUCK BIG TIME. Second, there are a hell of a lot of uneven stairs. It really was beautiful though. We visted the bridge of wishes, and wandered arounf the crappiest flea market I have ever seen. I mean seriously, I think that even the fleas should have embarrased at that display! We wandered through some of the artisan shops including what might just be the most awesome artist I have ever seen. Adina Plastalina is quite possible some of the coolest jewelery I have ever seen and I am seriously regretting not having bought myself the butterfly earrings (and you kow how often I actually *buy* jewelery!) Anyhow, we came back to Beit shemesh and went to a tu Bishvat program at our shul. Channah made a Bee. It is a Channah Bee.
Oh, did I mention the wrong turn into the war zone? No? Probably better that I not talk about it.
Day 12 (Monday)- Busy, busy day (with a late start because we all slept in). Jason skipped ulpan(!) and we took mom in to the Tel Aviv to the Diaspora Museum (Beit Hatfustot). It is one of our favourite museums in the whole country (so far as we have seen thus far) and mom had never been there. I think she liked it. She said she did... Channah loved the models of the shuls they have on display, but it just went on a bit too long for her. All in all it was fun though. Mom then got to see a bit of downtown Tel Aviv (I had some errands to run) before we met up with yet another cousin for dinner. Actually, this was an interesting meeting as it was in B'nai Brak and included a tour of the Viznits area. Wow big shul (and school and high school and kollel and old age home and everything else- including bleacher seating for the Rebbe's Friday night tish!) We even got to oggle a local wedding (a white roughly person shaped sheet amidst a sea of black). We went to go visit another cousin on Mom's (Fella) in an old age home- she looked better than she has looked in years! After that we stopped in for a quick visit with one of my oldest friends who wanted to see my mom while she was here before heading back to the house of the sun.
Day 13 (Tuesday- Today) We over slept and woke up quickly to go out and vote. We told mom we would be gone for about a half hour although we were back in about 15 minutes. We offered to go back out if she wanted... The original plan for today (a national civic holiday- one of only 2 and lets not forget that Sundays do nto exist here) was to go to the Carlebach Moshav to go tree planting. We called this morning and they said that it was windy enoguh to lose small children off the side of the mountain so we decided to look for another option. We decided to go to the Mishkan Institute in Yerushalayim. We picked up our friends with whom we had decided to spend the day, double buckeled 6 people into our five seater rental car and off we went. think clown car. The stuff in the museum was cool, but the service, tour and facilities were less than stellar. We had lunch at Burgers Bar and then went to Moria (a huge bookstore in Yerushalayim) for a bit. While we were inside it started to rain...
I will admit that rain is a good thing around here- a real bracha- but WOW! did we get soaked! We davened mincha at the kotel in the dounpour (and hail!) of a lifetime. Umbrellas were useless as they were being torn from their handles faster than my mom can set off a metal detector! We were wating for Jason to brign the car around (there was no way Mom and/or Channah were doing all the wet stairs back up to the top of the city!) and were looked like a bunch of drowned cats. Cab drivers were coming around the corner and honking at us to see if we wanted a ride, and we just sat there grinning like idiots. "No no, we prefer to stay out here in this freaking freezing deluge that created a matching pair of indoor swimming pools in our shoes. At least we are going ot get our revenge on the rental car company. We are fully insured and they have a car with an enormous puddle inside.