Stefanella's Drive Thru

Israel, U.S., conflict, war, peace, humor, travel, romance, fashion, fun

News Flash! Cure for Lesbian Tendencies in Holy Land Central (HLC) August 31, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 1:39 pm

If I weren’t laughing about this next one I might be crying.

According to a YNet News story, a Tel Aviv suburb husband worried over his wife’s cheating ways – with another woman – was advised by a local rabbi to pour “magic sand” on the lover’s doorstep. In that way, the rabbi guaranteed, she’ll come running back.

Read the full text here.

It didn’t work. Especially when the guy got a bit over-zealous and upon seeing lesbian lover’s dresses hanging on a laundry line out back, set them ablaze. She phoned police. He was arrested. In custody pleaded anguish over his wife’s cheating ways. Was released.

What a nutter. I think what this guy REALLY needs is some magic potion followed by a special trip to the magic kingdom. Works for me.

over & out


It’s All Relative August 30, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 6:21 pm

One thing I need to ask you: Has anyone in your family or among your friends been hurt, killed, directly affected or sent to serve in Lebanon during the recent outbreak? I have to ask because sometimes one child will start talking about something and the floodgates open for the others

Israeli teacher running through checklist of questions during Parent-Teacher conference prior to 1st day of kindergarden


STFU August 29, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 2:38 pm

During my growing up years, summers were spent at sleep-away camp in Three Rivers, Michigan. A slow paced city with a population count below ten thousand, back then it was characterized by corn fields and its neighboring city Battle Creek – home of Kellogg’s world headquarters.

For us pre-pubescents the annual Kellogg’s factory tour was a summer highlight: the heavenly smell of toasting Corn Flakes accompanied us as we walked alongside massive vats filled with the stuff of our breakfast dreams and gazed in awe at assembly machinery putting together the variety 6-pack giveaways we were allotted at tour’s end.

At the time we camp-goers were being spoon fed kibbutz ideals: Socialism, Cultural Judaism, Progressive Labor Zionism and Social Justice. The camp was Tavor and it was a branch of the international youth group Habonim (now Habonim Dror).

I loved it. Not only was it a month away from parents in a liberal environment that promoted free thought, the power of protest and the importance of being informed but it was also a place where the socialist ideals of egalitarianism and a non-spoiled work ethic were refreshing.

We campers tended the goats and chickens, cleaned the lake and swimming pool, weeded and pruned the vegetable gardens, picked corn from the fields and rotated dining room set up and break-down duties. Part of the share-mentality included handing over any sweets we’d brought along in our trunks because, as the reasoning went, how fair is it for one person to enjoy chocolate if others can’t indulge as well?

Camp Tavor and Habonim had a tremendous influence on my ideas and opinions and are probably key reasons for my current choice of dwelling venue.

So as I re-acclimate to Holy Land Central (HLC) after a few months’ break, I find my thoughts returning to Tavor.

During the final days of one summer session, we campers were grief-filled over the impending return home. It meant separation from bunk mates and soul mates, a return to the quiet of non-communal dining room clatter and dreaded parental rules.

Jody Gillette, a senior counselor and incidentally, now an HLC resident like myself, sat a group of about 100 of us down for a de-briefing that went something like this:

Look guys, I know you don’t want to go home. I know it sucks. And I know that when you get home you basically want to say: Mom, Dad… Fuck off. I want to go back to Camp. (swearing was okay at Tavor) But don’t do it. Because if you do, they’ll never let you come back. Just try to shut the fuck up and have a good time.

And so, heeding Jody’s advice, I am now trying to do the same: STFU&HAGT…ain’t easy…nope it sure isn’t.


Through A Child’s Eyes August 27, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 5:26 am

More Impressions on Day 3 of our Return to Holy Land Central (HLC) following a 2-month hiatus:

1) It’s still bloody hot. Yes, it cooled down slightly and it’s even pleasant with windows open post-sundown when the breeze wafts through. But that middle-of-the-day sun-beats-down muggy-heat body slick is everpresent

2) Adjusting back to the mentality here is… an adjustment.
– A complete stranger friend of a friend joining our cafe table the other day unabashedly asked my age and income in one fell swoop.
– The neighboring sweetie-pie lock shop owner commented “That’s all?” when I told him the dog died/solar panel blew/cat ran away/apartment was burgled while we were away. And I’m not being facetious. He really is a sweet guy.
– The building contractor in the courtyard downstairs argues into his cellphone with clients each ayem around 7 in forte voce

3) Life here is hella lively. Full of vim and vigor and bounce. Hell, I’m not on vacation – that period of time when friends and family dote eagerly because your appearance is brief – and yet my Dayplanner/BlackBerry/Palm Pilot is buzzing. And this is the norm. I had forgotten.

A correction/recommendation:

– In an earlier posting, I advised reading The Devil Wears Prada. HOWEVER, that was following my movie viewing but prior to getting into the book. I retract. The movie was light, lively, very funny and well done. The book is a downer and stahm. Kudos to the film’s screenplay adapter who liberally departed from the novel.

– Now reading A Million Little Pieces, James Frey’s supposed retelling of severe alcohol and drug addiction and rehab. Supposed because he apparently took liberties with embellishment. Never mind. It’s fascinating.

– In the same earlier posting, I neglected to add Jose Saramago’s Blindness to my reading recommendation list. Yes, he was among the not-so-pro-Israel group of artists/academics/etc. (including Noam Chomsky) who vociferously objected to Israel’s action during this summer’s war. But setting politics aside for a moment, the book illustrates his proclivity for the Nobel standard.

About Loss
Children sometimes have unique perspectives on life and the world in which they dwell.

People have asked how Raphael, my 4-year-old, handled the news of losing both pets while away for the summer.

He cried. Of the cat, who Rapha habitually referred to as his sister, he is of the belief that she is outside partying with friends. She may be. Particularly since, while in the backyard conversing hours after landing in HLC, an identical look-alike ran unprompted and enthusiastically toward us upon hearing our voices. It bolted, however, when Raphael ran towards it in greeting. We continue to beckon.

Regarding our dog, I had to explain death. For a 4-year-old, it’s a way-out-there concept. When I said that it means she went to sleep and won’t wake up again, through tears he stammered: “But I won’t get to pet her anymore!” And I told him that there are many, many dogs who need petting in the world. Through the flow he stubbornly insisted: “I don’t want to pet any other dog. I want to pet Atticus!”

Otherwise, he has witnessed my emotional displays with curiosity. One day he handed me a Chiquita Banana sticker. “It’s a no sadness don’t cry sticker, Mommy. Atticus said you should put it on to stay happy.” I promptly stuck it on my forehead and wore it in public all day. Someone in Walgreen’s asked if I knew it was there. Yes, I replied. It’s a no sadness sticker. Rapha was proud. And stunned the first time I broke into sobs with sticker still in place.

Upon returning to Israel, he confided to his father: “She cries a lot”

Last night at dinner he asked when Attie will come back down again to play.

When out in public, he obsessively strokes dogs and cats

Today he fell apart when a dog he wanted to stroke walked away too quickly. “That dog wanted me to pet it and I didn’t get to,” he cried hysterically. I hugged him tight and reminded there are many, many other dogs to pet.


I promise to blog about other stuff. Give me a moment. slf


Back in HLC August 26, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 4:12 pm

So here we are, Raph & I, two months and ten days later, back in HLC (Holy Land Central) after being in the U.S. for a very L-O-N-G summer.

Initial impressions:

1) It’s bloody hot here. Muggy hot. A drip of sweat constantly down the small of the back hot. But I adore the heat. So no problem there.
2) After the polished & gleaming finish of every exterior in the U.S., things here appear dusty, dirty, loosely thrown together. Over coffee today, friends remarked that perhaps that very looseness contributed to tactical military mistakes during this summer’s war
3) People are still frazzled and war wary and weary. Most expect it to spark again but on a much grander scale. Including the taxi driver who brought us from the airport yesterday. He said each country has its problems – hurricanes, drugs, poverty – and that Israel’s is that of a war zone. Wait and see.

The personal:

It was hard as hell to come back. I didn’t want to. Not because my life here in HLC is shite or because I’m having 2nd thoughts about staying. Because after the summer’s mishaps on a personal front – apartment burgled, cat ran away, dog of 14-years horribly sick and put to sleep a mere three days prior to our return – I was terrified of walking into the loneliness and emptiness of a post-burgled, animal-free home. I didn’t want to leave the comfortable safety net of parents and siblings.


Being in the apartment has been good. Smelling Atticus in her bedding, seeing her collar, calling for our cat Kalikee in hopes of her return and assessing the break-in damage (almost none) has been far easier than my imagination had conjured. I have cried loads and the physical pain of wanting my long-time companion is sometimes overwhelming. But it will be okay. Support from friends, strangers and family all over the world has been incredibly helpful.

And there is a warm cocoon here. Unlike a parents’, it envelopes on a broad level providing a sense of it’ll be okay no matter what.

I have agonized over not being with my pet in her final hours as she suffered and was released. However, I think we humans search for meaning, reasons and clues in our endeavors because if we didn’t, life would feel too random or senseless.

I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t have been in HLC with Attie when she was put down. I couldn’t have separated from her nor could she have separated from me. We were closely attached – she traveled with me all over the world, went to work with me and was at my side most of the time in cafes, shops, at friends’ homes, parks, the beach and on vacations throughout the years. This summer was the longest period we’d ever been apart. I don’t believe my grief would have allowed me to be a comfort to her at the very end.

In an ironic cosmic twist, less than 24 hours after Attie died, her longtime dog friend Chance -also a Golden Retriever but living in San Francisco – suddenly died of a stroke. Chance’s person Jo e-mailed to say she believes Attie wanted him with her. I sure hope so. It makes me feel better to think they’re hanging out.

I’ll upload a picture from files but until then, follow this link and enjoy.

Over & out for now.


Armageddon August 23, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 6:55 am

Bloggers yesterday referred to the date, August 22 or Iran’s deadline for indicating future nuclear intentions, Armageddon Day.

Interesting because I am living a personal hell that spiked yesterday.

I blogged last month that during my current visit to the U.S. my apartment was broken into and our cat ran away. Over the past days I have been grappling with a third nightmare scenario: arranging for Atticus, my canine companion of fourteen years, to be put to sleep while we are still away. We return to Israel on Friday but our vet felt she needed to be immediately put out of the pain of struggling with osteomyelitis. Yesterday Attie was euthanized.

The scope and intensity of my emotions bars me from blogging about it right now. However, a wise Yoga instructor helping me cope with my grief advised not looking back over my shoulder. “The here and now is all we have.” Exceedingly difficult.

Peace out


THANKS!! August 20, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 4:13 pm

Allow me to be the first to personally thank France for the 250 troops committed to the future peace-keeping force in Lebanon.

Also, a kudos to Finland for their 250-strong pledge…and let’s not forget Italy. Exact numbers are not yet forthcoming but they’re sure not to disappoint.

Hmm.. that leaves 14,250 or so open spaces for troops from Malaysia, Pakistan & Indonesia….How comforting.


Gay, Porn, Jewish…Go Figure August 19, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 1:13 pm

When I read that New York-based/Russian born, gay porn star Michael Lucas will be performing for Israel’s troops at month’s end, i was intrigued.

So I hopped on over to his blogsite. And the questions came a’flyin’…He’s a pretty cute guy, well groomed and all…However….

What exactly is it that he will be performing? ‘Cause it looks like Mr. Lucas is pretty much straight up porn. Is he bringing an, er, um, performance partner with? And if, as the article states, he is entertaining gay troops…well, that won’t be a staggering crowd number based on sheer population stats in Israel. Will the straight soldiers be banned from the show?

Oh dullness, where art thou?


Eddie & Me August 17, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 2:47 pm

Eddie Izzard -definite article

I wrote about comedian Eddie Izzard last year and because my brother Josh loaned me his definite article DVD a few days ago, I feel compelled to blog Mr. Izzard again. For world history buffs, fans of trivia, physics or general off the wall humor, definitely check him out. I am soooooooo sorry I didn’t take up a friend’s offer to see Mr. I in San Fran a few years back. Oh well.


Mel & the Jews August 16, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 9:12 pm

Mel & the Jews

My pal Jeff e-mailed me this gem…parts are pretty damned funny. Enjoy.