Snow Blows

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Diamond in the SnowAnother weather rant. But seeing as I survived this past weekend, I pretty damn well earned it.

Israel is not the place I expected to be snowed in. And although the temperatures were not entirely reminiscent of my years in Montreal, where they reached the lowest of the low, -20, -30, even -40, they were cold enough to make me utterly miserable.

The snow started falling on Thursday morning. I received an SMS from my boss informing me that the office will be closed and to enjoy the long weekend. From my perspective, the long weekend was already ruined due to the snow. My boyfriend came back from work early even after being stuck in traffic for three hours. He was also one of the lucky ones as many people were stranded mostly at the entrance to Jerusalem. Some even abandoned their vehicles and either walked or hitched a ride to a temporary shelter and out of the cold.

We had warm soup, doubled our pajama layers and blasted both the wall heater and the one with the spiral beams. My boyfriend went back to sleep for a ridiculous four hours while I read a book. At around 17:00, I got dressed (this took me about 20 minutes considering the extra layers) and took Diamond out for her evening walk.

Diamond happily trotted by my side, every once in a while slipping into a pile of snow. As I zigzagged my way across the unplowed sidewalk, and seeing Diamond getting covered in snow which kept on falling endlessly, I looked up at the sky through the sliver between the hem of my tuque and the thick wool scarf which covered half of my face. I flashed back to the time in Montreal when I would take out my dog, Buxy, during the coldest nights of the year. He hated the snow just as much as I did since his feet were webbed and the snow would accumulate between his toes and turn to ice. He would then proceed to limp the rest of the way back home. That was until we bought him socks, which he also hated.

I remember the Montreal nights being bright since the snow and the clouds reflected back all the street lights and lit up the night as if it was day. One of the things I love about Israel is that most of the year, there are no clouds and there is no snow. None of the lights are reflected and the nights are as dark as it is within the confines of my inner child’s shelter room. The moon and the stars are clearly visible on the background of a pitch black sky. There was no such thing in Canada.

So flashing back to my years in Montreal, while I was still walking the streets of Jerusalem, was surreal. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was just surreal.

When we got home, my boyfriend was just beginning to wake up. I took a steaming hot shower and got back into my double layered PJs, carrying my hotwater bottle around like a teddy bear. Outside my living room window, the snowflakes fell in clumps and completely blurred out the wadi and the parallel street overlooking our backyard. The wind made the night even more dreadful. The electric company employees and technicians were all on overdrive as thousands of citizens were left in the dark, as the cool air seeped into the houses through the poorly insulated walls.

We were of the lucky few who had a short power failure in the early evening hours on Friday, which lasted no more than 10 minutes. But others weren’t so lucky. Some had power failures that lasted up to 24 hours, sometimes longer. It was reported that 30,000 retirement homes were left with no electricity. One can only hope they had gas heaters or at least a few generators to keep the elderly and the bedridden from freezing to death.

We stayed indoors the entire weekend. Going out anywhere was impossible. No plowers passed on our small street. We couldn’t even go grocery shopping and we still have no food at home (luckily, my boyfriend’s parents live right upstairs from us and they had plenty of food). We were forced to keep walking Diamond in piles of snow, wearing about four to five layers of clothes, two layers of socks covered in plastic bags to keep our feet dry in case water seeps into our boots, and it did.

Diamond’s Husky side became more evident as the snow levels grew. She kept begging us to take her out again and again, to play in the snow in the backyard. I was worried to leave her outside on her own. Husky or not, she’s still Israeli and not used to such weather.

Now it’s Sunday. The snow started melting a little last night but most businesses and government offices are still closed. There is no public transportation and taxis are the only ones profiting from that. By some miracle, I managed to make it to work today. I was hoping to finally get one of Hasalatia’s awesome soups, which have eluded me since last week due to bad timing. But of course, they too were closed. I have yet to figure out how to make it back home and how to take out Diamond for a walk through the streets, which have now become all icy and slippery.

Now all my Canadian and North US friends will probably tell me to suck it up – that at least I don’t have to suffer through five months of that white shit, that the temperatures never get lower than -5, that the worst that could ever happen in Israel right now is buckets of rain. Well, no. I won’t suck it up. Israel is a country which is built and organized according to hot weather. There is no insulation because there is no need for it. The plowers can’t plow everywhere, and there aren’t enough of them because there is no need for them most of the time. There is no readily available street salt also because there is no need for it either, and there hasn’t been any need for it for dozens of years. So no, Israel was not ready for a snowpocalypse. Despite my prior flashbacks, this still isn’t Montreal. At least, a city like Montreal is always ready for the absolute worst because it’s bound to happen. So being completely unprepared, snow in Jerusalem is pure hell and I still hate snow with every fiber of my being.

Peace, love and have we paid our dues? Good, now let’s see some sunshine!

The Reason God Made a Dog

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I finally managed to develop some pictures from an actual film camera. It seems so hard to do that these days with all the digital shit.

I took these pictures outdoors during days where the sun was unapologetic. It’s because my dog likes to run around and low light would mean slower shutter speed and cause blurry photos. It was still hard to get good pictures because the focus on my old-ass camera is also manual. But I got some pretty good shots. Diamond is super photogenic.

The scans do not do justice to the quality of the photos, but here are some of the better ones anyway.

Diamond Poo

Queen Diamond.

Diamond Poo2

What’s that behind me?

Diamond Poo6

That one was probably before we applied the Gentle Leader. So beautiful.

Diamond Poo4

Out for a walk.

Diamond Poo3

In the backyard.

Diamond Poo5

Diamond is out of focus on this one. But I like it because the focus is on the drain, and Diamond’s blurry shiny texture gives the photo a unique matty quality.

Diamond Poo7

Totally out of focus, but it’s the only semi-decent photo I managed to get of Diamond’s “crazy” expression – Hanging tongue, wide eyes, ears back.

Peace, love and camera, lights, woof!

DIY Month – Day 25: Photo Book

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Since Diamond is the most photogenic living thing in our apartment, the photo book I made last night was about her.

Most of my hand-made publications (i.e. zines) are either completely in black and white, or have only the cover page in full color. So this photo book is the first time I compile a full publication in full color.

It’s 16 pages long including the cover, and it’s not a standard size book. It’s square and is slightly smaller than an A5 but a little bigger than an A6. I made it so that I could fit all pictures, portrait and landscape, straight and leave some space for text.

The photo book introduces Diamond, her hobbies, her habits, and her sleeping positions. Since this is the last production I made this month that I would want to make copies of, I gave it to my boyfriend along with the split zine, the flyer, and the stationary to print (I already printed the quickie zine myself), as he works in a print shop and does the best print work ever. And being his girlfriend, I either get it at a discount or completely free of charge.

If anyone wants to trade or buy some of my printed work, drop me a line.

Photobook cover

Photobook sample page

Peace, love and spoken word is gonna be the death of me (more on that tomorrow)

DIY Month – Day 19: Painting

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In the spirit of making art in memory of my recently deceased dog, I decided to paint him. I used one of his pictures as a guide. Although he was two-years-old in the picture I used, in the painting, he came out looking like a puppy.

The hardest thing was trying to mix the right colors to match his fur. He was a vibrant shade of blond/white/yellow/gold/beige, and I tried various combinations until I reached something that was remotely close. I started off with a rough yellow outline. It came out so bad that I felt like taking all the paint I mixed and just scribble all over the canvas. But I kept on painting according to the picture in front of me. By the end, the yellow outline was a pretty good idea because it gave Buxy a sort of a golden glow.

I haven’t painted since I was maybe 18, and didn’t think I’d be able to create something as great as I used to in my youth and I was totally dumbstruck that I DID. I still don’t know if this painting fits any classical painting methods, but I am so damn proud of myself. The painting looks even better than the pencil drawing I made earlier this month. I think it’s a really nice way of commemorating my lovely dog.

I put this painting on my night table.

Buxy RIP Buxy closup Peace, love and doggy kisses

DIY Month – Day 18: Modify Shirt

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I’m still depressed because of Buxy’s passing. Last night I couldn’t stop hugging Diamond and kissing her forehead. The time we spend with our pets is too short. Buxy was 11 when he passed away, but I’ve been with him for only five years because I couldn’t take him with me when I moved to Israel. He would have been miserable. So I take comfort in the fact that he was happy and loved until the very end. But I’m still sad that I didn’t spend the last years with him.

Last night, I had to force myself to do the activity I planned. I think art and creation is the only thing that can keep you going when you feel upset. When you are standing in front of your creation, the fruit of your labors, sometimes it’s the only thing that makes you feel alive. So last night, I picked a shirt to modify.

The shirt is one I got from my aunt in LA. She always sends my mom and me really neat stuff. This t-shirt is dark gray with skulls and anchors drawn on the front and nothing on the back. My aunt knows I like stuff like skulls, so she thought it would be good for me. When I tried it on, the length of the shirt was good, but the sleeves were weird because they weren’t long enough to be t-shirt sleeves and they weren’t short enough to be tank-top sleeves. They were somewhere in the middle and it made me uncomfortable.

So I decided to do away with the sleeves. I also cut out a bit of the collar to make it look more like a normal tank top. And the empty back of the shirt bothered me, so I printed a grrrlVIRUS logo in Hebrew with a stencil I made.

I’m happy with the tank top. I have something new to wear in summer. Now all I need is some sunshine.

The shirt before it was modified

The shirt before it was modified

Shirt after it was modified. Sleeves and collar chopped off.

Shirt after it was modified. Sleeves and collar chopped off.

Back of the shirt with printed grrrlVIRUS logo in Hebrew.

Back of the shirt with printed grrrlVIRUS logo in Hebrew.

Peace, love and making some art in Buxy’s memory seems like a good idea

DIY Month – Day 17: Flyer

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I made a few flyers for grrrlVIRUS many times before. And also one flyer advertizing the Crafts for a Cause Etsy shop to benefit the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center. But that one was done on Adobe InDesign. So I decided to make a flyer that is more appropriate for a shop that sells DIY feminist art – a DIY flyer.

Crafts for a Cause

In other news, I’ve just been informed that the dog I had when I was living in Canada (which my parents had to give away to better owners) passed away last week. The latest owner told me he had a good life and everyone loved him, and he was happy and loyal to the very end. I shed quite a few tears when I got the news, and it ruined my mood completely. All I wanted was to come home to Diamond and get some doggy hugs.

I therefore decided to dedicate the split zine I made this month in loving memory of Buxy Ben-Ari, the most beautiful and wonderful golden retriever in doggy heaven.

Buxy as a Puppy

 

DIY Month – Day 8: Photo Day

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On Saturday, I planned to take my dog and my cousin’s dog to the new dog park in Be’er Sheva. But we didn’t know where the dog park was exactly so we settled for my cousin’s front yard.

I didn’t take as many pictures as I planned to because the dogs were going crazy and many of the pictures came out blurry. Also, my dog was too busy trying to find junk to eat, and I was too busy trying to keep her from eating junk. Between that and freezing to death as the day grew darker, taking decent pictures proved to be harder than I expected.

I’m still happy with the photos that did come out, though. So here they are.

Diamond and Walker DSC02237 DSC02238 DSC02239 DSC02240 DSC02242 DSC02244 DSC02245 DSC02248 DSC02250

 

Peace, love and woof!