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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ending on a very high note

For a day that started out poorly at best, it sure did end up delightfully. We went from full frustration mode, to breathing easier once the damn Latin project was done and picked up and out of the way. We went from big pissy anger at each other to happy hugs by the end of the day.

So what was so different about the beginning of the day and moving to the end? Well, I scored huge on freecycle for the Boy and got a free surround sound system for the TV. It's not high end, but he is happy that at least we've GOT a surround sound system for his gaming and movies. The child could not be more pleased. Me, I don't really care one way or another, but I knew he would be so psyched he would get off my back for a day or two. I was right. He was Mr Pleasant for the evening with only a few minor outbursts at his sister. Miraculous. Yes, it's kind of bribing him. But it was FREE, and it was available today.

My love for freecycle grows by leaps and bounds. Yesterday a rug for the Girl, today surround sound. You never know what tomorrow might bring!

This afternoon, while the Boy was meeting with his Latin teacher, the Girl and I headed out to Marshalls, where she was looking for a new pair of jeans. She had $35 of her own money to spend, and we spent a LOT of time looking at everything, trying on sale items, etc. I tried on a couple of bathing suits. Oh my God... it was not good. I don't know what size I wear anymore, but it wasn't any of the various sizes I tried on. Nightmarish, I'm telling you. Downright frightening.

We also tried on several dresses for the wedding we are hopefully attending in October. October is a tough month. Mostly it's hot, but it could be cold. Who knows? They had several sale racks filled with cute dresses and the Girl found several she liked. One looked absolutely GORGEOUS on her, but it was more money than she had, and she really wanted jeans, and they won't take markdowns on layaway, which sucks, btw. So we hid it and will try and come back in a couple of days when I have money to lend her.

I found a dress I really liked. I NEVER like anything. I'm very picky about the clothing I wear. I've got enough sensory issues that the clothing I wear has to be very comfortable, a natural fabric, and then I look at what it actually looks like. I am very hard to please. I dislike most of the styles that are popular right now, plus I can't wear anything really revealing in front because my freaking defibrillator shows and it looks really weird to see this big square thing under my skin poking out. I mean it, very very creepy. The scar doesn't bother me that much, but the 3" rectangle poking out from under my skin makes me very uncomfortable. I look like I'm bionic or something.

Today I found a dress I loved. On sale. Marked down to $15 bucks. It was cotton, it was adorable, it fit, and I loved it. Yes, my defibrillator shows, but with a little shrug or a wrap, it will be fine. I loved this dress. LOVED it. I'll still need to lose a few more lbs for it to be perfect without Spanx, and it isn't for the wedding as it's way too casual, but no matter. I loved it. I never love anything. Ever. I've blogged for years and I swear this is the first time I'ver ever even mentioned liking a piece of clothing.

I'm a utilitarian person. I wear what is comfortable, easy to keep clean, and if it looks decent, which it rarely does, then I'm happy. I don't like prints as a rule, I like solid colors, classic type fit, and interesting design. JJill tends to have the clothing that I like the most. But it's way to expensive for me. I have some pieces from when I was working and had money, like 7 years ago, and I still wear them all the time. Worn out...you betcha. But comfy. Way too big. No doubt about it. But comfy!

When we find out that you can't put sale items on layaway, I am sad, but I just can't afford that dress right now. Maybe in a few days, but not today. So I put it back, and I say to the Girl, "I'm putting it away in the wrong place so maybe nobody will find it and it will still be here in a few days when we come back." She looks at my and my eyes are tearing up. I mean I REALLY liked this dress.

So she puts back the new adorable bra that she was going to get, and the two pairs of undies, and says, "I'll just get the jeans and buy you the dress." I protest, but she insists. She wanted to buy me something she knows I like. She said, "You never buy yourself anything and you never like anything. I want to buy this for you."

I let her. She was so sweet and so excited for me to have a dress that I just love. Not that she didn't love it too. She was so into it she tried it on. Um... it was a tad too big for her. Heh. She's like a size 3-4. I have never in my life, even at my absolute thinnest, been smaller than a size 11. I'm big boned and 5'9. She's tiny and delicate and 5'3. We don't share clothing, although she does wear my t-shirts to sleep in all the time. So does the Boy. I never have anything to wear because they dip into my drawers and borrow my shirts and socks. It's ok. I rarely mind.


This is the dress. Is it not the cutest dress ever? It looks even better without the hoodie!

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How many years will I get for killing him?

I am sitting here in front of my son and I'm shaking I'm so angry with him. I know he's got issues. I know it's hard for him. I know that he is lazy and will do ANYTHING to get out of schoolwork. But this is just beyond the pale. And if he doesn't get his act together in the next TWO HOURS he's going to fail Latin, a subject he should have an A in, but doesn't because he WILL NOT finish his work.

Last school year he missed the last 2 weeks of school because he was in the hospital. His teachers gave him until 31 July to get his work finished. That's TODAY. His Latin teacher is coming to our house at 4 pm to pick up his work and drop off his final, which he has 24 hours to finish. The work includes a poster. A poster on Pericles. OK, not an easy topic. There isn't a lot of reliable information on Pericles, and what there is might or might not be accurate. But hell, this kid has spent HOURS in front of the computer and at the library and can't find a thing. I don't know what he's waiting for. On 3 separate occasions today he announced he'd rather just take the "F" than do the work. I had to literally sit him down in a chair to get him to stop being such an ass.

I finally completely lost it. I went online and did a search for "Pericles biographical information" and guess what? I found a 21 page article in about 2 seconds. An article comprised of a bunch of source information and even cited. An article that was divided into key components like "artistic achievements" and "military approaches". You have to be a fucking moron not to be able to make a poster out of this information. But does he has ANY clue as to how to do it? He does not. He is so frustrated and so wound up in his own psychodrama that he just freezes up with anger. He gets so rigid. He gets so mean. He gets so abusive. And it's a freaking poster that would have taken any normal person 20 minutes to do. It wasn't even HARD, for God's sake. It's just that he gets into this negative space and he can't find his way out of it, and then he starts throwing things around the house and screaming at me. Because, of course, it's always all my fault. Always.

I got into his face, like 3 inches from his nose, and I let him have it but good. I'm so sick of listening to his excuses for why he can't do anything. They are just excuses, and he does them because he knows that people feel sorry for him and allow him to manipulate the situation to suit his whims. Everyone does that. His teachers, his therapist, his friends. I used to. But no more. I WILL NOT allow him to manipulate me to do his work for him. I'll help him, but I will not do it for him to have him pass. He tried really hard to get me to do this project for him. He left it not only until the last minute, but to the last possible second. He had more than a month to do it. I reminded him at least 1000 times in the past month. I had to take his Ipod away yesterday to get him to sit down and do it today. He begged and begged this morning to get his Ipod back, but he's not getting it back anytime soon. I'm too angry. I am SOOOO angry.

How is he going to get along on his own if he thinks that everyone will bend to his will? They won't. His bosses won't. His wife probably won't. Everyoone isn't going to do everything for him. He HAS to learn to do it for himself. But so far, he hasn't learned this lesson. It's my job to make sure he does. It's hard and it's making me insane, but I'm gonna be damned if he finishes high school on promises and manipulation. It is not going to happen on my watch.

Of course, he's going to kill me before he ever gets out of high school if he keeps behaving like this. God help me, he's gonna kill me.

I just said to him, "Don't you think you ought to study for your final?"
"Fine" he says, but makes no move.
"Like NOW" I say.
"Yeah, OK."

I swear it, if I don't blog in the next few days, call the police. I might have died in my bed from frustration and angst.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Recovery is coming along slowly

The thing about blogathon is that you're so wired from all the coffee and blogging that you can't just drop off to sleep after you're all done. Or at least I can't. And then I get a nap here and a nap there, but not a full night's sleep. Plus, my inner clock is all off kilter and needs resetting, something I just can't do well on my own. Which is a complex way of saying I'm still exhausted beyond belief, and still haven't gotten more than 3 hours of sleep at a stretch. I'm barely cognizant of my surroundings. Which is good because they look like a cyclone struck inside the house. It's bad, folks. BAD.

I wake up, twitter, read my email, watch a little TV, read a little, and then drift off to sleep. I need a full night of sleep. I believe tonight might be an Ambien night.

For those of you who are still looking to donate during this ever-decreasing time period after Blogathon, here is the link. And I thank you in advance and promise to send virtual hugs. As you know, I'm not huggy-kissy in real life. In real life I'm barely a handshake kinda girl. More a 'hi', little wave and step backwards person. I do love to preserve my bubble.

So what else is new? Oh, I have a flat tire on the ole minivan, the Girl has a job, the Boy is actually going to finish summer school with a passing grade, Worthless Pet's flea situation is improving, and my tomatoes are finally ripe (and yummy!).

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

I made my goal

My head has turned into a giant watermelon. It is filled with juicy thoughts, but it is too squishy to make any sense. See?

Oh lordy, I am tired. My eyes have huge bags and dark circles under them. I look like I haven't slept in days. Oh, right. I haven't. I tried to sleep this morning, but I only got an hour before the doorbell rang. Then I put in a 'sleep movie', How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and drifted off to sleep for 3 more hours. But it's not enough. I am officially brain dead.

However, I made my goal! I did it. Or, a VERY generous and apparently saintly Lynn H did it for me. She is the nicest person on the planet. I love her. I wish I knew her in real life. Say thank you to her because now you don't have to listen to me whine about not making my goal. Oh, I'm still going to beg you for sponsorship because you still have 48 hours to pony up, peeps. And even if it's for One Measley Dollar, I'm going to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It isn't the amount, it's the action. So, if you're feeling crappy because you forgot blogathon (although with all my posting about it, I don't know how you could) or you thought it was something different than simply raising money for charity through amazing verbosity, now's your opportunity to assuage your guilt. Ahem.


Again, thank you SO much to all my sponsors. JaniceNW, you're the best for staying up with me and keeping my eyes open. Robin, thank you too. Everyone that commented, I love that you actually read my words and thought about them. I hope that everyone enjoyed some snippets of my insane youth.

Anyone for a girl's weekend on Anacapa? :-) You bring the water and food, I'll bring the dice and David Brenner book.

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The one where I say "Good Night" #49


I did it. Two years in a row, I blogged my ass off for a good cause. I'm exhausted. I'm spent. I have not an original thought left in my head. That head that aches, over the stomach that is producing way too much acid reflux from all that damn coffee. I feel like crap.

Was it worth it? Hell yes! I had a blast. It was so much fun dredging up all those old memories that I hadn't really thought about in years. Plus, I raised a lot of money for a great cause. I didn't make my goal, but I exceeded last year's amount, which is a good thing.

And don't forget, my cheeky wee monkeys, you can still sponsor me for another 48 hours past 9 pm tonight. You have PLENTY of time to feel the love. Plenty. And I'm counting on you.

So this is where I get to thank my guest bloggers. Thank you to the Boy, who worked hard at trying to think up amusing posts even when he was dog tired. He did a great job and I'm very proud of him. He's a blogger in the making, that one.



And thank you to the Girl. Although she only posted once, her behind the scenes help was invaluable. She made coffee, she made cookies, she washed dishes, and she chatted me up when I was feeling like my head was to heavy to hold up anymore. She scratched my back, she massaged my feet, and in general was an all around good girl.


Thanks again to all my sponsors. You're the best! And I'll be back again next year. I have no clue what I'll write about, but I promise it will be interesting.


And most of all, thank you to my computer. You only rebooted once the whole 24 hours, and that was in a very convenient time right after I had finished a post. You did a great job under difficult circumstances. I know you're old and need more memory. I know you hate to be on for long periods of time. But you did it for me, and for that, I love you, you old farty machine.

Nighty night, all!

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The one where I talk about the Boy #48



You've gotten a chance to read his posts. He's a tad, oh, unusual, right? A bit out there. Funny as all hell, but not quite your normal run of the mill almost 15 year old. But a great writer, and, when he puts his mind to it, quite entertaining.




So could you please explain to me why this child will not do homework? Why does he refuse to write for school. He literally kicked me off the computer so he could participate. He really wanted to write those posts. What makes those so much easier than school work that he could pump out with his eyes closed?

I honestly do not get it. I try to understand him. I really do. But the truth is, I don't always get where he's coming from. He obviously delights in tripping me up. He's manipulative as all get out. He's smarter than smart. But he's completely unmotivated to do anything.

He want to be a child psychiatrist. Like in Medical School. I believe you have to do some work to get through medical school. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Medical School is quite strenuous, right?

Tonight over dinner he tells me he wants to take AP English. OK. But doesn't he have to do some actual WORK in an AP class? Can he just sit there, as he always has, and do absolutely no homework and no papers and still pass? I'm rolling my eyes here.

I love this kid. I honestly think he's amazing. But he is the most frustrating person I've ever spent any time with. He is absolutely his own person. Nobody tells him what to do or what to think. I believe that has something to do with his genetic makeup, if you get my drift!

So give me your honest opinion after having read his posts. I think there are 4 or 5 of them. I really do want some outside opinions. Just tell me if he's certifiably insane or it's just me!

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The one where I say THANK YOU! #47



I want to say a HUGE thank you to my sponsors:


WebKittyn

Jendeis

Bobby McGee

Ree

Histrel

Iris B.

Cassia

Jean G.

bethanyactually

Bonnie W.

Lynn H.

Robin in Israel
Secret Agent Josephine

You guys ROCK. I just want to send you a big giant smooch. You're the best.


And if you haven't yet gotten your act together to sponsor me, you have the next 48 hours to do so. So sharpen up those credit cards and donate to Children's Hospital, where NO CHILD is ever refused for inability to pay. Ever.

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The one where I get pissy #46


So I've been having a great time regaling you with stories of my silly vacations with my college roomate. While I've been doing that, way back in the deep dark recesses of my mind, I'm really ticked about something. Really ticked. I've discussed this with other blogathon participants. It's not just me that's noticed this.

Not ONE person that participated in Blogher sponsored a blogathoner. Not one. Or, if there was one, they sure kept it quiet.

So much for that 'community' I keep hearing about. What fucking hooey. Honestly, if I hear one more time about how great the bloghers are, how they come together to support each other, I'm gonna hurl. Where they hell are they now? We're blogging for CHARITY. We're working our collective asses off to raise money for various programs that desperatly need the funds. Social programs all over the world are being cut. People aren't asking for themselves. They're asking for charitable organizations doing good works. All kinds of organizations. Like those for animal rights, and for women's rights, and for sick children.

Where the fuck are you, bloghers? Spending your money on makeup and new shoes and clothing you don't really need? Pouring costly alcohol down your throats? Spending money buying useless crap that will end up getting tosses out or put in someone's junk drawer? Why are you wasting your money on this crap? WHY?

I'm sorry, but I think the materialism is utterly disgusting. I'm so tired of the Me Me Me of the bloghers. Oh yeah, you're all there when you don't have to actually DO anything for anyone else. But when you're asked to donate a freaking buck for charity, where the fuck are you?

Get your heads out of your asses and pay attention to people that need your help. Do you volunteer? Of course you don't. Do you give to charity? Do you do ANYTHING other than blog and complain about your marriages, your children, your houses, and your pets? If you do, you sure aren't blogging about it. Why is that?

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I'm totally storied out #45 (or something like that)


Sponsor me, dammit.

In the last half hour I just reached my limit. I'm yawning. I'm tired. I want to sleep. Two more hours. Oh crap....

Anyone awake? Anyone able to cheerlead me? Talk to me, peeps. I need some support.

In the meantime, I gotta show you the cutest darn photo evah! These two kids are the sons of David Ortiz and Manny Rameriz, who are both extremely talented players for the Boston Red Sox. This photo was taken at the All Star game in San Francisco, where the players brought their families to enjoy the city and have a bit of down time.



Are these two kids not the most adorable kiddies around?

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After fudgesicles, what else is there? #44


Oh, I am bone tired. 2.5 more hours. I can do it. I can. I think I can, I think I can...chug chug chug...

Pardon me, I think I lost my mind for a second there!


Hey folks... I need comments to keep awake. And I need sponsors to help me reach my goal. So please, a comment or two? And please sponsor me. Purty pleeze...

After our wonderful dinner in Venice, we stuck to the cafes and pizza stands. We might be fools, but we're smart fools.

Part of the joy of Venice is the crafts. I love GOOD blown glass, and if you stay out of the Murano factories and visit the galleries, you'll see gorgeous glass. Real artisan pieces worthy of the ridiculous prices they command.



But what I love more than glass that you can get in Italy is marbled paper. Now, I took a couple of classes at the Cambridge School for Adult Ed in paper marbleing and I'm fairly good at it. But in Italy you find shops that specialize in this craft, and they make the most spectacular books, boxes, and picture frames. I've made quite a few frames myself, but nothing compared to what they can do with a large factory and the best combs and inks available.



I knew that there was such a shop in in Venice that I had read about, and I was going to find it by hook or by crook.

I've mentioned the map situation. As in, the maps of Venice suck. All of them. They are terrible.
I had the address of the shop. I had 2 maps. I even had directions. It appeared to be within easy walking distance, maybe about a half mile from the Rialto Bridge. So how long did it take to find the shop? Oh, about 3 hours. But I did eventually find it, spent plenty of time and money in there, and lived my dream.



Meanwhile, Dawn was buying masks and cheapo jewelry made of murano glass. Not my taste, but I wasn't going to be displaying or wearing them.


Instead, I bought 3 etchings of Venice sites, my kitchen utensils and kettle, a small piece of glass, and a bunch of paper and picture frames.

And then it was time to go home, back to Boston for me and back to Berkeley for Dawn.

So ends the travel sagas of Margalit and Dawn, told in 40-odd parts. I hope you enjoyed reading these stories.

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The one where we laugh our asses off # 43


Let me just preface this continuing saga with a kvetch or two. I have the WORST caffeine headache. I feel like my head is about to explode. Plus, the heartburn. Oy vey! Between the big bowl of chili I ate for dinner, and the 4 pots of coffee I've had to drink over the past 20 or so hours, I'm not feeling all that great.

The Girl fell asleep about an hour ago, the Boy just laid down in my bed to sleep. He's tired. His posts are bizarre. He's bizarre. But he's sure my kid. Verbose and a great writer, that one. But does he do his homework? NO he does not! Urgh!


Hey folks... I need comments to keep awake. And I need sponsors to help me reach my goal. So please, a comment or two? And please sponsor me. Purty pleeze...


OK, back to Venice. After our day trip to Torcello, Dawn and I went out to eat at a very fancy restaurant in Venice. We dressed up, we put on jewelry and perfume, and off we went to this amazing restaurant recommended by many people. It was very expensive, so we ordered from the tourist menu. I've never done that before, but Dawn was sort of insistent and so I agreed. Shalom b'byit and all that.

The appetizer were the most delicious fried calamari. Little tiny squid all crispy and golden. To die for. I'd never eaten calamari before, coming from a Kosher background, but when in Venice, do as the Venetians do, right? I can't recall what the next course was, but it was either a fish dish or meat, followed by pasta and salad.



The waiter we had was very funny and kept teasing us about the delicious dessert on the tourist menu. He had us drooling the way he described it as being so special, so unique, so spectacular. He was obviously pulling our collective legs, but we had no clue what was to come. We plowed through our dinner, enjoying it, but I kept thinking that we'd be getting much better food had we ordered al la carte. Whatever.

By the time the waiter had cleared off the table and was ready to present this spectacular dessert, we were laughing our asses off at how funny he was, and what a delightful waiter he was. We were getting along like peas and carrots.

And then he brought out our spectacular dessert.

We laughed so hard that I really thought I'd pee my pants right in the restaurant. He was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes. It was hilarious. Hysterical.

So what was this special dessert?

Fudgesicles. Honestly. In Italy, the land of gelato. Fudgesicles.

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The Boy returns #42


Greetings my faithful readers, or rather my mother's faithful readers who just happen to be lucky enough to read what your exalted leader has to say (I'm your exalted leader by the way, just in case you were wondering).

So, right now I seem to have developed a minor case of writers block. I really can't think of what to write about. Now I'm just going to write the same thing over again just in different words. I don't know what to write. I wonder what I should write. I can't think of anything to write..... this is apparently going absolutely nowhere at an increasingly dangerous speed, so I guess you can consider yourself privileged to be able to listen to what I'm about to say..... one time, I went to a store, and bought a thing, that did stuff, and it cost money, and I took it home, and I played with it, then it did something, and I laughed, and It did it again, but that time the thing that it did wasn't as funny, so I didn't laugh at the thing that it did that I laughed at the first time, THE END


If you're still reading this post, than I'm very sorry, and quite ashamed to tell you that some of your precious time has been thoroughly wasted by a kid with writers block, who doesn't know what to write at this point in the night.


Guess what? It's starting to get light out here, which means that I get to go to sleep soon.


Well, I think that this shall be my last post of this year's Blogathon, and I only hope that what I have said has held your attention in the least bit, even if just for a moment (this post doesn't count as an official post of the boy's due to it's pointless ramblings, and the overall fact that if this is the first thing you've ever read of mine here on my mom's blog, you probably think that I'm an irritating idiot of some sorts. If this IS the first thing you've ever read that I've written on my mom's blog, I implore you to go and find other posts of mine on here, they may not actually be a complete waste of your time, instead an insightful look into the mind of a not-so-average 15 year old boy (even if I am a little strange)

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The city is a maze #41


Hey folks... I need comments to keep awake. And I need sponsors to help me reach my goal. So please, a comment or two? And please sponsor me. Purty pleeze...


Finding the ghetto wasn't all that hard. Finding our way back to the hotel? That was almost impossible. I don't know why, but we got so lost. Venice is a maze. Because there are no real 'streets' per se, you think you're going the right way, and all of a sudden the streets disappear off the map. The map. Oy, the map! I have never seen worse maps than those of Venice. We bought one. It sucked. We bought another one. It sucked too. But eventually we found our way back. That gelato really did help!



The other reason we loved our hotel (OK, I loved the hotel...Dawn didn't care about this at all) was that it was directly across the street from a huge modern kitchen store. Sort of like Sur Le Table, only modern and Italian.

Some people buy touristy mementos of their trips. Me, I buy kitchen supplies. They had the most gorgeous stainless utensils and I just had to have them. And an Alessi tea kettle. I had to have that, too. So I shopped there and found the exact things I wanted. To this day I use them all the time, and they're the best utensils I own. By far!

The next day we explored San Marco and the Campanile. I'm not big on churches, but Dawn is Italian and Catholic, so we did the church thing. She had to endure the Ghetto, it was only fair. I also HATE pigeons. HATE THEM. Freaking flying rats. They make my skin crawl just to think of them. San Marco is the flying rat capital of the world. Shiver me timbers, I hate those damn birds.


One of the things I really wanted to do is to go to one of the outer islands of Venice called Torcello. This is SO lame, but the reason I wanted to go is that it was part of an As the World Turns feature with Julianne Moore as Frannie. I know, it's insane, but I just really wanted to see it in real life because it was so beautiful on the show.



We took a boat over. Most of the people got off at the glass blowing factories, but I'd been there before and honestly, most of what the tourists see is such crap. I didn't want to waste my time on Murano when I could see Torcello. And boy, was I right.


Torcello is the most beautiful place I think I've ever been. It's like a miniature Venice, with a medieval church, small canals filled with colorful homes, and such a quiet atmosphere. So unlike Venice, which bursts forth each morning with gossip and talking and the joyous people walking to work. It's very loud. But Torcello is quiet and peaceful and so very beautiful. Plus, they have women making italian lace sitting in front of the houses. It's so interesting to watch!

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Viva Italia! #40


Hey folks... I need comments to keep awake. And I need sponsors to help me reach my goal. So please, a comment or two? And please sponsor me. Purty pleeze...


We took the overnight train to Venice. Dawn had never traveled in a cochette before, and got a real kick out of sleeping on the train. We had the cochette to ourselves all the way to Venice, which was delightful. Nothing live traveling out of season for more comfortable traveling.


When we got to Venice we found our hotel, which was right outside San Marco. It was an EXCELLENT location for two reasons. Downstairs from the rooms, built right into the lobby, was a gelato shop. And not just any gelato shop. A really GOOD gelato shop. Can anything be more convenient than gelato right under your bedroom window? I think not!


The first thing I wanted to do was to tour the Venice ghetto.
The Jewish Ghetto of Venice is the oldest in the world, and the 5 synagogues are the oldest still existing. The Museum of Jewish Art was opened in 1955 and displays a precious collection of textiles and silverwork (mostly from the five synagogues), Italian Ketuboth (marriage contracts) and other religious objects of foreign manufacture.


The ghetto wasn't easy to get to. There wasn't a vaparetto (water taxi) anywhere near it, so we walked. And we walked. And we walked some more.

The ghetto is marked by a couple of gates that are no longer in use. But when they were, it locked all the Jews inside the ghetto and only let them out during specific times. Inside the ghetto are houses where Jews still reside, as well as a couple of synagogues that still hold services.


In addition, there is a holocaust memorial that is very moving. The tragedy of Holocaust is reperesented in some works of art in the Ghetto of Venice donated by the Lithuan sculptor Arbit Blatas.

Jews had to stay in the Ghetto during the night: two large gates closed the area off (the marks of the hinges are still visible today). Christian guards (payed by the Jews themselves) patrolled by boat the canals surrounding the Ghetto and did not let the Jew escape during the night. Nevertheless, the ghetto was a lively place, with shops and schools, and the pawnshops, which the Jews were obliged to run for the city; so Jews spread their commercial and cultural exchanges with the rest of the city. In 1797 Napoleon recognized equal rights to Jews and the segregation ended.

A time of prosperity for Jews began, until the Nazi persecution during Second World War: most Italian and Venetian Jews were deported and killed in Nazi camps.

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Rescue Ranger Margalit # 39

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I found Dawn and took her back to the hotel where she was very upset and angry with me. She thought I should not have left her alone to fend for herself. I thought she was a grown up and could manage a half-day on her own. We agree to disagree, but from that time on, I realized that she needed constant babysitting and I'd be the one to watch over her. Although this cut into my personal time, I didn't really mind that much.


What I did mind is waiting for over an hour every morning while she did her hair and makeup. As you know, Paris is a city of high fashion. But honestly, does it take that long to put on some eye shadow and mascara? Plus the green clothing was starting to get to me. I like green. But I don't have the need to wear every single outfit in the exact same color. That's just weird.


We tour the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, the Pompadou. We go to the Eiffel Tower and the Arche de Triumphe. We tour Notre Dame and see the Rose windows. We take a day trip to Versailles. We eat at a ridiculously expensive french bistro, at a Chinese restaurant, at many cafes. And the pastry. Did we eat pastry! Thankfully, no Bernie to control Dawn's weight gain.


We explored the left bank, checking out the shops and the cafes and making ourselves totally at home drinking coffee and eating croissants. Paris is a wonderful city and in September, when the tourists are gone, it's really delightful.



After a week, however, it was time to pack up and move on to Italy.

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The 9 year old smooth criminal #38


(It's the boy here)

Have you ever gone 4 days without sleeping? Because I have, and let me tell you it can be either the most enjoyable, or most frustrating stretch of time you've ever experienced, depending on how you choose to utilize the time you spend awake.

I used to never be able to get to sleep at night, I'd lie in bed thinking for hours on end (and for a 9 year old with an 8:30 bedtime, and a wildly vivid imagination this can be bliss). Sometimes I would lie in bed all night, but on other, more rare occasions, I would sneak downstairs to watch movies all night. This was no easy task though, with the lightest sleeper on the planet happening to be my sister, and the woman who usually didn't go to bed until 2-3 o'clock for a mother, it proved to be difficult indeed. However for one fortunate streak of four days in a row, my mother went to bed much earlier than usual, at 1:30 (if you have slept in the same house with my mother in the past 6 or 7 years you'll probably gasp at the notion of her going to bed this "early"). So for the first night, I waited for my mom to walk upstairs, read for 20 minutes, and finally turn off the light. The light turning off was usually the 10 minute countdown signal for me anxiously awaiting the night of fun ahead of me. Once I assured myself that the coast was clear, I crept down the staircase with my then "expert" knowledge of where to step on each stair to avoid it creaking. Once I was downstairs I immediately went into the kitchen to microwave myself some popcorn. Now you're probably wondering how I got away with making popcorn (I mean It is POP-corn for a reason). My usual trick for this was to throw my enormous comforter over the microwave (which I'm sure is some sort of safety hazard, but I was 9, I didn't really think about stuff like that). After my food was ready, I would have to decide what movie to watch. Ahhhh yes, the movie picking. For me, picking a movie to watch on nights like that is a precise science. If you pick the wrong movie for the mood you're in, you either end up wasting precious time (which is scarce when you only have 6 hours to have the best time possible) or worse, falling asleep. Falling asleep is the worst possible thing that can happen to you in this situation, because when your mom goes into your room in the morning to wake you up and discovers you missing, she immediately assumes that something dreadful has occurred. Once she finds you asleep on the sofa with that blue screen from when the VCR stopped, you know you're in trouble. However, on this wonderful series of nights, that never happened. Once I picked my movie (which always ended up being Star Wars one way or another) I began to really enjoy myself. I would sometimes completely forget that I was watching a movie, and would just sit on my sofa with my comforter wrapped tightly around my body, marveling in my flawless execution of my brilliant plans to sneak around at night. Eventually Star Wars would end, and I knew I would have to make some more food and choose another movie to watch (and I have been known to take 45+ minutes to choose a movie). My next movie would usually be a comedy of some sorts, usually either Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or a Monty Python movie. After about a half hour through the second movie I would start to feel tired, but For some reason that didn't happen once over these four nights. I would also like to note some off the attention to details I put into my sneaking routine, such as the second movie always being a comedy (I did this because comedies are usually short, so that if I needed to go to sleep before I had planned I wouldn't have to torture myself to keep my eyes open). Anyways I would almost always go to my bed at around 7:30, and lay there thinking about my next night sneaking endeavor. 8:00, at last it was time to wake up..... or so my mother thought.


I repeated this same drill near flawlessly for three more nights in a row, and it ended up being the most enjoyable time I've ever spent just being alone.

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Where in the world did Dawn get lost? # 37


She wandered all around the 6th arrondissment looking for the Metro stop. I swear it, she did not see any of them. I don't know what she was looking for, probably a sign that said BART or an elevated train like they have in Chicago. It boggles the mind.


She had a lovely tour of the left bank. She found Notre Dame (like you could miss it) and she walked all the way down to the book stalls. But she never found the Metro. I think she probably followed the river, thinking that there would be a stop right along the path. Um, nope.


I got home from shul and she wasn't yet back. I had been gone about 5 or 6 hours, so I knew something was wrong. The hotel Matron told me that she had gone out several hours ago, but had not returned. I was tired, so I lay down for a while, but the phone rang interrupting my sleep.

"I'm lost" she cried. She was sobbing. "I don't know where I am. There's a big park, and a big hill, and a big church, and a lot of people going up and down the hill. I walked down to the river, but I couldn't find the subway (um, it's the Metro, you moron). Can you come and get me?"


I have no clue as to where she is. I ask her for street signs. She can't seem to read them. I tell her to grab someone so I can ask, but she can't seem to get across what she wants to passers by. Snotty French!


I ask her to describe again just what she's seeing. She's in a garden. In the background is a big giant mansion. Way in the back, up on a hill is a big church with a dome. There's a statue and a small cement pond.


Holy Jethro, she's in Luxembourg Gardens right at the foot of the Pantheon. Now how the hell did she get there? I have no clue. But I know where it is, and I know how to get there fast, and I tell her exactly where to stand and I'll be there in a half hour. Margalit to the rescue!

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I musta got lost #36





Our hotel was in the 6th arrondissment, right off Rue St. Germaine. It was in a lovely neighborhood, very easy to get around, and very very easy to get out of.



Our Metro stop was St Michel de Pres. You couldn't miss the Metro stop, it was one of the art nouveau stops about 2 blocks from the hotel. As I said, I drew Dawn a map. She wanted to go shopping, and I told her that she could cross over at Notre Dame and walk over to the shops, or she could take the Metro. She opted to take the Metro, but somehow, she totally missed the stop. Now, could you miss this stop?


Um, yeah. I'm telling you, geographically challenged. She was also very nervous about money. She had plenty of travelers cheques, but she opted to only take the french cash she had on hand, which she forgot wasn't worth the same as American money. Sigh. So she had maybe about 50 francs with her, which is not a lot of money. She decided to stop at a cafe and get something to eat. She ordered, but forgot to check the prices, and ended up spending more than she had. Fortunately, she also had an AMEX card, and they took it, but in those days, that was very unusual.

I had also explained to her how to get to Le Bon Marche, a large Parisian department store. I figured they had something in ugly khaki/olive green that she would like. Sigh. Le Bon Marche is in the 7th arrondissment and although it wasn't exactly close, you COULD walk there. But the Metro would be so easy. However, we're talking Dawn here. She could not find the store. It is huge. HUGE. And she totally missed it.


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