Archive for October, 2012

Friday Foto

October 27, 2012

Driving over the hill in the rain on the way to kidlet’s doctor appointment…

(The picture just barely caught the faint second one…)

Great start to the morning.

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Lowest point

October 25, 2012

In the midst of all the issues, we decided we really needed to get away, for a few days at least.  So during Sukkot we headed for the Dead Sea.  The lowest point on Earth.  423 meters/1388 feet below sea level.  Just to relax, pamper ourselves a little.

We drove the main toll highway south – huge bunches of sea squills blooming all along the way – then veered off into the desert.

Camel sightings:  three.  (Didn’t see any on the way home, though…)

We reached the resort area of Ein Bokek, and found we had a great room at the hotel, with a big balcony overlooking the private beach.

We could also see half of the outdoor pool…

We went out for dinner our first night.  Thunder & lightning, wild gusts of wind and spatterings of rain, in 98F degree heat. We had a wonderful meal sitting outside, although we had to hold things down to keep them from flying away. The ice cream melted in the heat before we could spoon it up even as raindrops kept our heads cooled off.  Bizarre, but fun.

I spent almost every evening sitting on the balcony, mesmerized by the light show of lightning flashing across the desert sky, over Jordan.

We took advantage of the spa, too.  Within reason.  Swedish massage.  Shiatsu.  Reflexology.  Kidlet had a facial.  But most of the time we utilized the open facilities.  I wanted to see if swimming is an exercise that won’t cause me a lot of hip pain, and the hotel pool seemed ideal to check it out.  Shaped in a loop, with an island in the middle, it alternated between shallow and deep water,  so I could swim some and walk some around the loop.

I managed a couple of  “laps” once or twice a day, sometimes alone and sometimes accompanied by kidlet.

She actually preferred the hot tubs most of the time.  The indoor sulfur pool was less to her liking,  although the floating was fun.

But it was the Dead Sea itself that drew us the most.  The pure, hard salt underneath our feet wasn’t the most pleasant sensation

But our buoyancy in the warm water was relaxing and fun (until I tried to put my feet back down – I have to admit it wasn’t the most graceful display)…

The lifeguards do their rounds on boards, making sure folks are OK, that they haven’t been in too long, etc.

Where is partner, you ask?  Well.  She’s not really a water person, although she did go into the sea once.  This far.

That was quite enough for her.  She contented herself more with taking pictures and fussing over us being in the water all the time.

Of course, the Dead Sea requires a whole ritual, to take advantage of the healing minerals found in the land.  People come from all over the world to treat skin problems.  I chose 6am, before breakfast, and before the heat made it unbearable.  Step one, cover yourself with Dead Sea mud:

Cover everything you can, don’t forget between your toes.

Next, stand still for a bit until the mud dries on your skin.  Once it’s dry, and you feel like you’re encased in a giant body cast, head on into the sea to rinse it off, sending it back where it came from…

It makes the skin feel incredibly silky, almost as if one is covered in a rich oil.  And the feeling of softness lingers.   I brought some packages of mud home, but haven’t used it yet…

We didn’t spend all our time in the water, of course.  We did some strolling around the area, as much as I could stroll, anyway.  Eating out.   Some shopping for souvenirs.  And there was plenty of just kick back and relax time.  In other words,  KNITTING.   I took several WIPs along, but then decided to cast on for a new project, the Aim True socks.  The yarn has been waiting, the pattern has been first in the queue long enough, and it was time.

There were comfy couches in the spa, in the giant hotel lobby, in the bar…and I found many opportunities to try them out.  And got to chat with a bunch of interesting people from all over the globe.

The bar held a new surprise.  I discovered the vanilla mudslide.  I understand there are some variations in how it’s made, but this bar made it with rum, baileys irish cream, kahlua, and vanilla ice cream.  Seriously decadent.  Cocktails, knitting, and a wee lamb that kidlet found for me, what’s better than this?

Finished most of the first sock while there, but didn’t take pictures until I got home.

First sock is done now, working on the leg of the second sock.   But knitting time is scarce, so it’s slower going.  Looking forward to wearing these!

The time off down south was wonderful, and desperately needed.  No worries, no schedule, no demands.

I’m ready to go back.  Anyone else coming?

Hiatus and Issues

October 24, 2012

I’ve disappeared for a while.  Longer than I ever have before.  I miss blogging terribly.  But other issues have demanded all my time, attention and energy and while I constantly blog in my head I haven’t been able to do much beyond that to magically make the words in my head appear on the page/screen.

Physical health issues.  Mental health issues.  Employment issues.  Parenting issues.  Disability issues.  Sleep issues.  And the bureaucracy covering most of these issues is threatening to overwhelm me in a sea of forms, letters, records, signatures and red tape.

Can one drown in paper?

Got a book today (haven’t been reading much, I’m way behind on my book challenge):  Sue Townsend’s The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year.  Is it wise to admit out loud that this idea sounds so appealing right about now?  Can’t wait to read it, despite the tower of books in the TBR pile, but I’m making myself finish Rachel Thompson’s A Walk in the Snark first.

Want to know how bad it is?  The October package of the Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination Club is on its way to me as I type…and the August package is still sitting on my desk, opened but still in its mailing envelope.  The package is seriously awesome, patiently waiting its turn on my seemingly endless Things To Do list.  But I will blog about that later.

Summer is over and fall has arrived.  As evidenced by the hatzav, or sea squill, that grows wild around the Mediterranean.  In Israeli culture, it is a major symbol of autumn.  The plant has a huge bulb, just under the surface, and usually around July sends up a dramatic, 3-5 foot stalk out of the bare ground, when most other flowers are dormant.  The plant’s white flowers start to bloom around the bottom of the stalk, and as time passes the flowers bloom higher and higher, and the lower ones wither.  When the top flowers have bloomed, sometime in October, fall has arrived and usually the first rains with it.  The flowers don’t bloom if the stalk is cut from the bulb, and the plant is protected by law in Israel.  Here are some near kidlet’s school a couple of weeks ago:

Some are still blooming in the middle, but most are already blooming towards the top.  Here’s the same bunch a week later:

Most of the flowers are gone, although some are still striving to reach the tops of the stalks.  And the rainy season has indeed arrived, although there are  plenty of hot days in between the showers.  Now the dark green leaves will appear at the bottom of the stalk and enjoy the rain.  And then the hatzav will again disappear until mid summer next year.

It’s nice when things are constant, isn’t it?

So many things to share, to catch up on.  Projects knitted.  Places visited.  People encountered.  I will try – when I’m not overwhelmed – to back blog as well as keep up.

It feels good to be back.