Koala update: Twelve months.

The year is here. Some kind of ultimate milestone. Profundity escapes me. I’m just impressed I’m still around, sane enough to tell the tale…

Starting with today – the first birthday. Since the birth-day. Vaccines aside, I’m fairly certain by the evidence that Koala enjoyed what I call a ‘naked cake grab’ at dinner time.

There’s nothing like an uninhibited naked cake grab. Gotta remember that when my next birthday rolls around.

As far as everything ‘meta’… I can’t cough up cliches. I’ll start with the last month.

Third time’s a charm… or it’s at least an impressive number: This past month made the third time Koala has traveled with me outside Israel in his little life. A well-traveled one-year-old – but one who does not travel well. We’re going to lay off the air travel for a little while.

But the trip was heart-warming and fun and adventurous. Nothing like the curiosity of a near-toddler in a big airport…

…or the satisfaction of a sleeping baby on a long flight.

In other news, the boy knows what he wants. He knows what he doesn’t want. And he knows how to get those points across. Since the day he was born, on this date last year.

Let’s hope he is not a world leader someday. My little kingpin is… well… spoiled. An only child. An indulged child. And trust me, I’m not a spoiler. But there’s nothing else that can hold my attention quite like Koala can.

There’s work to do before he gets the shock of his life when he has a sibling one day.

On the non-skills front, the first faux art project happened this month, with his American-Israeli metapelet while I worked at a company offsite.

That’s actually a very exciting prospect for me: The fridge covered in art projects. It’ll be even more exciting when I can tell he truly did it himself (when there’s a single, honest Crayola marking across a broad, white sheet).

Otherwise, between the standing on his own, the new scrunched up faces of disgust, the new words he’s picked up… It’s been a fun month watching Koala top off the past year.

And it’s been a wonderful, short, long, educational, hilarious, sleepless, mystical, challenging year, Koala. More and more and more to come.

New York a no go.

So every time I’ve had to bail on a work trip before this, it’s been baby’s fault. Well, my fault, but as a result of the baby’s existence. And my dedication to breastfeeding.

Now that we’re partially weaning and I’m feeling better than I have in months, I was just so looking forward to the trip this week. I was going to attend 140conf in New York City and help promote another baby I hold dear (I don’t breastfeed that one though).

And then came the crippling evil stomach virus from hell. I thought stomach viruses were always ’24-hour bugs.’ But this was the worst abdominal pain I’ve ever experienced aside from… well, you know.

So I spent four days with on/off fever and dehydration headaches, while either doubled over in bed or in the bathroom (overshare?). I also didn’t eat for that long (and actually managed to lose those last couple of nagging preggo kilos). I went the entire Yom Haaztmaut without touching a single BBQ’d anything (a record I’m sure!).

But I came out of the sick closet yesterday and had a great day seeing people and congregating in the Israeli outdoors, as I suppose it should be on Yom Haatzmaut. So there’s that.

There’s always the next conference, next project, next baby…

Yom Haatzmaut this year.

My flight is on erev Yom Haatmzaut – the eve of Independence Day here in Israel. That is THE day of the year: everyone takes off work, everyone goes to parks, everyone barbecues as much meat as they can, and everyone coughs a lot and experiences stinging eyeballs as the other entire country is crammed together in unity, polluting parks under clouds of grilled smoke.

Despite how absolutely fun that sounds, I got a lot of puzzled reactions when I told people about my travel plans. You’re missing Yom Haatzmaut???

Maybe I’m not Israeli enough to care that much, or maybe I’m not sentimental enough to care that much. I’ve been here five years, maybe it’s worn off.

Or maybe – just maybe – I’m too much Israeli up in this piece: The flight I got was a special rate from El Al (whose motto is , “הכי בבית בעולם”) for Israelis leaving the country over Yom Haatzmaut.

Flying solo.

I’m scheduled to take a quickie business trip to New York this week – sans bebe and not pregnant, which makes it the first time that’s happened in two years. Fun fact: I’ve taken 5 of those kinds of trips to the States since summer of 2008.

Here is a list I compiled of all the things you can hope to do when you travel alone:

  • You can use the hand scanner at passport control in Ben Gurion.
  • You can at least hope for a quiet flight.
  • You can have a window seat.
  • You can take drugs to sleep on the plane.
  • You can pack light.
  • You don’t have to consider car seats when thinking about how you’re getting to your destination from the airport.
  • You can stay by BFFs in the city.
  • You can drink at conference parties.
  • You can manage your jet lag on your own terms.

Now all I have to hope is that this fever and stomach bug I somehow managed to contract disappears before my flight.

Jewishly speaking…

On the Jewish calendar today is ב’ אייר, which happens to be the date on which Koala was born last year.

So happy first Hebrish birthday to my Koala!

I’m sorry that you’re feeling ill today…

I’m sorry you have two or three new teeth coming in…

I’m sorry I won’t let you play with the webcam while you video chat with your Grandpa…

Ok, I’m not sorry about the last one.

Jerusalem of Brown.

It’s unfortunate that we’re still abused with news stories about Jerusalem Holyland scandals. Or Olmert. Whatever.

That’s what we happened to be talking about on our way to our offices in Jerusalem today when we noticed the dirty skyline from Gilo hilltop:

Paging Pig-Pen? At first we posited that it was a dust storm but soon realized we could ignore the facts no longer: The pollution piling over the city is a hovering mass of brown dirty existence.

Of course, I did come from New York. But I never got to actually see it from the top of a hill like that.