Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Family matters

As you know, Rami does not come from a traditional family unit. One of the upsides of this circumstance is that occasionally we discover new half-siblings. We recently learned that Rami has a new half-sister living in Santa Cruz and earlier this month, we got to meet Mahalia and her mom, Calais.

Like Rami, Mahalia is a very happy child with an upbeat personality. Like her half-brother she also seems to have a good sense of where the camera is! Seeing them hang out together it's not hard to imagine they're related.

Ilana was also there, Rami and Mahalia's half-sister from Albany. The three of them got along famously.

Later moms and kids got together for a group portrait. From left to right that's Ilana's mom Karen, Ilana, Rebecca, Rami, Calais and Mahalia.

This was not a one time get together. We're going to meet up in Santa Cruz later this summer for some Boardwalk action and maybe just maybe, a picture of the kids in matching Slugwear. In a summer of changing family status, a new half-sister is an incredible bonus!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Catching Up

All right, all right so we haven't written much lately. Neither has Tolstoy.

First, a bit of housekeeping. Our wedding plans have become so elaborate, they've morphed into a blog of their own. You can find it here, such as it is:

Also, for those current, former and future Landi among you interested in the family reunion, it too has its own blog, to be found here:

(Give it time people, we're busy.)

Now on to the business at hand. We've had a lot of fun these last few weeks, not the least of which has been following the awesome exploits of one Ed Jew. Thank God, he's free on bail so that he can continue to entertain us.

Closer to home, we got to do one of my absolute favourite things: go to New York City. Rami's cousin Hannah had a Bar Mitvah there and Landi came in from all parts of the country. Here's a picture of at least the most immediate group:

Left to right that's Uncle Elliot, Some foreign guy, cousin Zach, Aunt Linda, Aunt Rebecca, brother Michael, grandma Rachel, mom, dad, The Bat Mizvah girl herself, Rami, cousin Hava, cousin Gabe, Uncle Jonathan, and cousin Chloe.

We were honoured to be given candle lighting responsibilities on Hannah's cake. It was a team effort.

One of the many, many, many advantages of New York City is that since no one has car, pretty much everyone is a designated driver. That's quite handy when you're catching up with your twin sister.

Of course, moms taking a short break from parental reponsibilities are not the only ones who get a little thirsty. Being cute and adorable does require constant hydration.

Then again 7 year old boy does not live by orange juice alone. There are needs that must be met.

We've been saying lately that Rami always knows where the camera is. That last picture is proof because not many kids would interrupt the deovuring of a sundae just to pose for a snapshot.

Hannah is lucky enough to have a younger brother named Michael. He put on quite a show himself.

Finally, in the interest of bilateral cultural development, those of you south of the border should know that those of us reared north of the border cannot set foot in Manhattan without hearing in our mind's ear the signature song of Canadian punk. You can learn more about it here:

More very very soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

In search of the Yellow Stripe (Version 2.0)

We've been homebodies of late. Not patricularly sure why, it just happened. Last weekend was Purim. For those who've never had the pleasure, Purim is another archetypal Jewish holiday, (They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.) The occasion is marked by carnivals where everyone dresses up in costume and by Purim spiels. Purim spiels are plays that come in a variety of styles and we witnessed the gamut from cute and funny to pompous and self-righteous.

Another element of the holiday is the ritual baking of the Hamentaschen. This task involves spending several hours of slaving over a hot oven, then creating delicious little pastries. Rebecca had two helpers, including Esther Aliah.

Copious amounts of these treats are produced, then put in containers and shared with neighbours and friends. These neighbours and friends also slave for hours making Hamantaschen and give some to you. That way everyone ends up with far more goodies than they can possibly want.

Rami and Esther are so photogenic we couldn't possibly leave it at just one picture.

People sure are busy these days and the West Berkeley OHDS/CBI community has been a huge help to us over the last two years. Sometimes we have guests during the week. Here's Rami and Eli T, who's a year ahead of Rami at OHDS.

One of Rami's main after school activities for the last year has been Karate classes at a local Dojo. Rami passed his first test last summer (one yellow stripe) and has been preparing for his second test. Rami's half sister Ilana has also been taking classes but is a little further along. On Friday both of them had a test at the same time, Rami trying to earn his second yellow stripe and Ilana tryng to earn her yellow belt. How did they fare?

Was there ever any doubt?

Monday, February 19, 2007

President's Day 2007

Nothing is quite as satisfying at the end of a long week as a long weekend. We began with a date night spent watching the masterful Judi Dench and the beguiling Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal. Highly recommended. We could think of no better way of following it up than capping our Saturday night with a trip to Safeway. Meanwhile, Rami got to spend the evening with babysitter Paul. Foolishly, Paul brought his bass with him. That gave Rami lots of opportunity to harrass poor Paul.

Of course, Rami rarely misses an opportunity to pose. We're not sure if he wants to be the next Stanley Clarke or the next Sid Vicious, but the man knows what do with a guitar in his hands.

In reponse to the Rose family fraternal obsession with keeping that pesky hair away, we invested in a set of clippers last year. It paid for itself in our first sitting. Rebecca has become quite an expert. She's gaining a reputation neighbourhood wide. Rami's classmate Ami was so pleased with his recent haircut, that Ami's older brother Coby wanted one for himself. Coby came to our backyard looking like this:

And left but a mere 14 minutes later, looking even more fashionable and hip:

After a family brunch at our house, we hit the road for the capital. Rebecca used to live in Sacramento so Rami has lots of uncles, aunts and cousins there. We spent some time with Sandy and Art and their dog Ruby and their canine ward for the week, Molly. Later, we were hosted by Margarita, who took time out from her retirement to provide us with dinner, breakfast, shelter and great company. Later, we visited George and Jeannette and Rami's cousins Connor and Justine. We went hunting for treasure at Pirate Cove on the banks of the American river. With three young toughs covering our backs, security was not an issue.

The main thing when hunting for treasure is to keep an upbeat attitude and positive outlook. As a veteran treasure hunter, Justine is not easily rattled.

Despite the upbeat outlook, you never know if you'll find anything. So when you're looking, it's important to look cool, calm and in control.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Snow Trip 2K7

In our second annual trip to the snow, we ventured to a fabulous cabin that Rebecca found on craigslist. It's near the metropolis of Arnold, north of Yosemite. The cabin was luxurious and warm, as was the company.

The grownups in the back are family friend Hannah, neighbour Jeff, Rebecca and Jeff's wife Margaret. The younger crew in front are Hannah's daughter Esther Aliah, Jeff and Margaret's son Ben, and Rami himself.

January was extremely dry in California so there was almost no snow at the cabin, which is at about 4,800 feet. A quick drive, however, took us above 6,000 feet into proper snow (sort of) and some spectacular vistas.

As always the most photogenic of the group is Rami as he proved yet again.

We all had a fine time. And all our transmissions returned intact.

Hockey Night in California

To the best of his recollection, Rami's soon-to-be stepfather attended his first NHL game at the age of 7 years and 7 months. Rami beat his soon-to-be-stepfather's record by about 2 weeks and went to an NHL game on January 20th at the Shark Tank. In a battle reminiscent of the epic mid-80's struggles between the Minnesota North Stars and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the St. Louis Blues eked out a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The game was not as exciting as the score sounds. Nonetheless, Rami had a great time and stayed awake for all of it, more than could be said for the Blues' backup goalie.

Turkey Day in Hog Town

If there's anything more fun than travelling cross country for three days, it's travelling cross country for three days while everyone else is doing the exact same thing. Thus we found ourselves in Toronto for Thanksgiving. It was Rebecca and Rami's first visit there ever and my first appearance in my hometown for over a year. Anyway, some doofus forgot to pack the camera for the trip (he was too busy studying the bio of Marlies goalie J.F. Racine) so we don't have many pictures.

Fortune smiled upon us the entire way on this journey. The sun was shining, temperatures were balmy, the pork buns on Baldwin Street were divine (sorry, I was supposed to warn Jewish readers to avert your eyes) and the Singapore Noodles at el Swatow were as tasty as ever. Rebecca and Rami even got to go their first ever pro hockey game. (Rebecca particularly enjoyed the quaint AHL tradition of dropping the gloves at a face off before play has started.)

We stayed at my sister's house and at one point, the whole family gathered for portraits.

In the back that's Rami, me, my mom Phyllis, my sister Charlotte, her husband David and their son Denny passed out on his parents' lap. In front are my brother Dave, his wife Lisa and my niece Ella. Guess Rebecca was behind the camera.

Rami got along well with his new Canadian near relatives, especially Ella Bella.

Rami also took a liking to the Rose/ Wiseman family dog. Jazz hates having his picture taken because it reduces the amount of time he can spend ransacking the kitchen looking for any food that hasn't been nailed down.