Genealogy

We are vigorously preparing for Gallia’s parents arrival. I’m strengthening the ‘Succah’ which we haven’t completely dismantled since Succot, so they have where to stay, and Gallia is feverishly rehearsing every day situations, repeatedly mumbling the calming phrases she intends to use to herself. It’s going to be interesting, what can I tell you. Anyway one thing’s for sure, I’ll be spending plenty of time at work. The timing is pretty good from my point of view. I’m trying to set a deadline for completing what I’ve been working on for almost a year now, and the sooner the better. With Gallia’s parents to baby-sit for the kids, Gallia will have a little more time to herself, and I can cram more working hours into these all too short twenty four hour days, that our lives are an accumulation of.

But, why talk about the future when the entire family focus has so dramatically been shifted to the past? Yes, thanks to ‘Hanchu’s’ most recent findings we have all been brought to the recognition that we are undisputed descendants of a fascinating dynasty, and we should all spend our time looking at old faded newspaper photographs searching for additional would be PLOTNIKS.

I don’t know about you people, but that’s what she spent her time doing when she was here. She even went to the grand canyon to verify that the Apache chief Geronimo is actually a cousin of ours. After all he did have eyes exactly like ‘Safta Ester’s’ as the picture clearly shows.

Geronimo had Safta Ester's eyes

Indeed, quite an amazing anthropological finding, and what a time to do it. On the 500th anniversary of both Columbus ‘s landing and the Jewish banishment from Spain… Suddenly it turns out that both were minor incidents compared with the landing of the first PLOTNIK in the new world. Yes indeed the first European was a PLOTNIK. The landing of Columbus, and the plight of the Jewish community in Spain were mere specks of dust on history’s stage, compared with the founding of the great PLOTNIK community in San-Jose, the truly first white settlement in the new world, and Hanchu has the proof.

 

I hope Hanchu will forgive me for continuing and disclosing ever more fascinating portions of this incredible saga. As she was rowing down the grand-canyon not deterred by the fact that the should-be-Plotnik Indians did not respond to Yiddish, she stumbled onto what future generations will continue sharing with their children, the same way that I am compelled to share it with you. In the fossilized footprints of a dinosaur she found a few black hairs just like Avrom’s!!! The dynasty goes farther back then anyone dared to imagine. Thus I sit here trembling with awe, attempting to share the glory of this find through the seemingly all-too restricted power of the written word to express true feelings. I hope that you get the better, and well deserved opportunity to talk to Hanchu in person, and share this valuable experience first hand.

 

Actually it was fun having them (Emanuel and Hanch) here. I’m probably getting soft as I rapidly grow older. The fact that the three days they spent with us, amounted to more than all the time we’d ever spent together in the past also helped, Nothing like closely knit families. The way things are going now we have a family get-together of some kind every month. To think that I used to make fun of Gallia that I had t o attend a ‘bar-mitzvah’ or wedding in her family six times a year. Here there are gatherings for much more mundane reasons. Next week we’re invited to the college graduation of some in-law of some fifth cousin of some third wife of some relation of Emily’s. I think that Emily is family, but only Hanchu knows for sure.

 

Well they’re back in Israel, and Gallia’s parents are packing, so what else is new? The kids started school. Tal went to first grade. Surprisingly everything went smoothly. Yeela didn’t give a damn, but then she rarely does. At first we were concerned about how little they learn at school, but as time went by things settled into a reasonable pattern. Yeela works with learning material from Israel, to keep making progress in mathematics. Gallia gives her Hebrew lessons. She reads Hebrew every day, and she’s probably at the same level as her friends back home. Tal is only getting started anyway, so it doesn’t really matter, and it’s too early to be concerned anyway.

Both the girls started taking piano lessons. To our amazement Tal really likes it, and practices very seriously. Considering the miserable flop of last year’s swimming lessons, it was indeed a surprise that she’s so cooperative. The two of them also take sewing lessons. Yeela started first, and made some very impressive suites (! ! ! ) for herself. Seeing this gave Tal the drive to try it herself. At first the teacher was a bit reluctant to accept a six year old to the class, but then she thought that Yeela was a bit young also. Gallia simply told her that they were both PLOTNIKs and the teacher did away with all her doubts.

Gallia is honing her get-something-for-nothing skills. She’s getting better at it by the day. The following is a sample receipt, one of the many that she brings home:

10 children sweaters $100.00

12 pairs of socks $94.00

8 men’s underwear $64.00

Total…………………………………… $258.00

Clearance discount -$70.00

50% off clearance price -$127.00

15% off – special reduction -$17.50

17.5% of Thanksgiving sale -$18.25

New Total ……………………………. $45.25

20% reduction for credit members -$8.00

33% minorities reduction -$15.00

Final Cost……………………………… $22.25

Now two weeks later she decides that 7 pairs of men’s underwear are actually redundant, after all I wear only one, and returns them only to get their full price in return. So now she has $56 dollars to her credit, minus the $22.25 that she originally paid for the goods. The final balance is:

10 children sweaters $100.00

12 pairs of socks $94.00

1 men’s underwear $8.00

The store pays you back $33.75 !!!

It takes a while to master the tricks of the trade, and indeed few have become fully qualified in the traits of these seemingly miraculous barter exchange techniques, but Gallia is clearly close to revealing the quarks and Taos of the anti-money theory of relativity. Hell, even Einstein ended up figuring that even though time is relative, it’s also money. Gallia figured out that money too is relative Which leaves Daniel and your truly the two males of the family lingering in the shadows of their surrounding successful females.

Osmo is coming along nicely. He’s becoming more of everything by the day. One of his many improving abilities, is his ‘Houdini’ disappearance stunt. That he manages to do in quite a scary manner. The problem is that the little fool hasn’t figured out a way to reverse this stunt, it’s up to the unhappy audience to search for him feverishly, and rescue him from his would be plight. There’s nothing smart about what he does. He simply picks a direction and starts running. As he improves his speed and endurance, he reduces the time it takes him to get to the first corner beyond which he cannot be seen. After he makes it to the first corner it’s any body’s guess where he goes. I’ll spare you the details about the specific cars he’s been found checking. I wonder where he got the idea in the first place?

The sweetest part of a young child’s development is its use of the spoken language. Osmo is an average speaker, nothing compared to his sisters before him, but then his blue-green eyes will make up for that. The unique thing about him is that he likes to talk to the moon as he takes his evening disappearance walks and sees how it disappears and re-emerges from behind trees and houses. He has a vocabulary of a few hundreds of nouns and verbs. He refers to himself in the second form (out of respect probably), and he seldom uses negations as that’s his default assertion form. For example ‘Le’ehol’ means I don’t want to eat. When he uses a noun it usually indicates the positive form e.g. ‘huhutza’ means ‘I want to go out, you should follow me or else…’. A few other phrases which might interest you are: HALLACH – means ‘I just destroyed it’. HALLAS – mean ‘I’m finished’, this goes along with the traditional brisk rubbing of both palms. HARA – means ‘this is shit, I won’t eat it’.

We moved him from a crib to a small child bed. He never slept in his crib. We actually had a crib standing in the kids room for a whole year and it served the purpose of nothing other than a garbage collector. One would ask where Osmo slept for a year, and the answer is ‘our bed’. We figured that maybe we could lure him out of our bed with a bed of his own. The trick worked, but with a catch. As long as he can see his bed, he’s willing to go to sleep in it. This implies that Gallia can put him to sleep in it, but when he wakes up at night the dim light just barely enables him to see the bulk of our bed in the next room…

That’s three kids that grew up in the wrong bed. As you know we’ll be giving ourselves one more chance to get it right. If it doesn’t work this time I don’t think we’ll try again. After all it would have been the best effort anyone in the PLOTNIK family had attempted since the turn of the century.

As for me I finally have a definite deadline for a would be definite product. This sound a little strange, but that’s the way things are. We’re trying to develop something that’s different from many traditional network management products. It turned out that the idea was a little too far fetched for the people who are usually in charge of defining products to grasp. The only choice we had left was to develop an almost complete product just to achieve a mutual understanding of what it is that we’re trying to do. What remains to do now is wait for final definitions and time tables for delivery. I hope they’ll agree with most of the things that are already in place, and that we’ll be able to ship at the end of the winter.

If the project proves to be successful, it’s anybody’s guess what the next step would be. There’s no point speculating now. The coming three months will require some very hard work, which brings me back to where I started, and this is where I end.

I’ll write again when winter melts into spring.

 

Visitors

It’s time to document the past several months. Let’s start from the latest news and work our way back as far as I can remember reliably. We spent the past week in Washington DC. We didn’t plan the trip but then the major air carriers came up with this tremendous price slash which enabled you to fly coast to coast for less than 200 dollars. I suggested that Gallia go and spend a few days with Rachel. Gallia suggested that it wouldn’t be a good idea for her to go alone in case the plane crashed, so we all went, so we would all go in case the plane crashed.

It’s a good thing not to plan these things in advance, because you don’t get a chance to regret that you brought up the idea in the first place. We managed to get tickets all right but it wasn’t a direct flight. Now I hate air ports, flying and flying with Osmo (the girls are fine), and here we are planning on two flights a day, and planning to repeat the process eight days later. It’s not that Osmo doesn’t like to fly. As far as he’s concerned he couldn’t care less provided that he doesn’t have to sit in one place for four hours. It simply breaks my heart to see how Gallia has to wrestle with him from takeoff to landing. If Only she had someone to help her.

Washington is a beautiful city, if you don’t visit the bad sections. So we didn’t visit the bad sections. We went to the Capitol, the CNN, the Smithsonian, the memorials, the mint, the white house, and where ever a common tourists should go including a doll house museum. One thing we didn’t manage was to climb the Washington monument. Once the line was too long, once there was no line because it was late at night and the monument was already closed, and once the line was not too long and not too short but the elevator broke down… That’s one pinnacle that will have to do without us.

In a sense we did a lot better than stand at the top of a tower. A friend took us in a small private plane to see the view from 1500 feet. The girls loved it, and Tal went up twice. The only problem was that it wasn’t above Washington that we flew…. How was I supposed to know that the guy would fly east and not west? That’s one flight Gallia didn’t go on. She waited on the ground mumbling constantly, wearing black and pretending to be normal. ;

When you’re in California you always think of the east coast as warm, humid and not the place to be. I had completely forgotten that the east coast is GREEN and full of water, while California in the summer is yellow and dry (at least south of San Francisco). The country side is lovely if you can get there. The road system in Washington is confusing to an extent which makes you wonder how bad was the state of the Altheimer’s disease the designers had. You drive around the corner to find parking and find yourself on a highway going to Richmond. It’s hard to believe that a person laying down a road can’t remember what he did on the other side of the building.

Now where was l? Oh, yes, driving in the country side. We went to a place called “Harper’s Ferry’. That’s the local equivalent of ‘Delaware Cross’ that we went to see some 28 years ago. Aside from the view of the Potomac and the Shenandoah rivers converging the place has historical significance. It’s where John Brown and his followers tried to start a rebellion to abolish slavery, an occasion which is said to be one of the first indicators and sparks of the civil war. Anyway it was a fulfilling experience to learn that the guy isn’t ‘a­-moldrin’ in the grave’ for nothing, the guy had a vision. When you think about it our kids also think that all men were created equal, and that you don’t have to be black to be a slave…

After Washington we came back only to find out that there’s a vacation this week due to the fact that it’s the evening of the evening of the evening, the evening of the evening and the evening of the 4th of July. Well, they have to compensate for the fact that the fourth of July is on a Saturday.

Going farther back in time we get to the part where the house that some of the skeptics said would never be built was turned over to the new tenants who most generously paid an important portion of out debts. That’s the good part. The bad part is that they won’t pay any more, and that’s a fact I love forgetting, only to snap back to reality with a sad realization that man was created to work for a living. Gallia talked to them this morning and pleaded that they keep the place in good condition. She agreed that they inhale in the house but preferred that they go outside to exhale, so they complained that there’s no grass out there, and when they walk back in to inhale the floor would get dirty, so she let them breath freely indoors and promised to consider dividing the expenses for planting a lawn.

The memories from the months prior to June are already vague. I remember that we had quite a few visitors for a while and there were a few family gatherings, one of which Gallia held in our place. Let’s see if I can be more specific.

First Varda and Sinai and their two daughters came. That’s easy to remember because they wouldn’t leave… It’s not that we don’t want visitors but we asked them not to come when the Hagit, Eitan, Gili, Yael and Uri Shiloni flew in from Washington. They promised us that everything would be OK, and we happily shared out modest quarters with nine guests simultaneously…

I can’t really blame people coming from Israel for trying to save a few dollars by staying with friends, but I can’t understand why people would screw up their own trip just to save money. We had another similar case of state of mind just now. Gallia’s cousin and his family stayed with us just this week, and I gave up the futile effort of trying to convince them that getting their money’s worth from the trip does not mean that they have to see the grand canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Mount Rushmore in eight days. I don’t see the difference between visiting six museums on the same square mile vs. running around the continent to ‘get your money’s worth’.

So back to our previous visitors, it was an interesting experience, and we know for sure that it won’t happen again. The next time that I have nine guests I myself will go to a hotel for the duration, and have them pay the rent, it’ll cost me the same.

Between the ‘visit of the nine’ and Gallia’s cousin we had Hanah and Zehvah for a few days. I hope we didn’t spoil anybody’s plans by flying to Washington on such a short notice.

I don’t want you to understand from the above that Emanuel and Hanchu are not welcome. We can deal with anything that is defined as ‘one family’. This category implies that the people can share the same room and the same towels, linens and beds, eat together and Some and go together. Is that so much to ask for? Emanuel’s visit in September is the only booking we have for the end of the year, Do you know of anyone else who would like to come and spend some time. with us? Actually I forgot to mention Gallia’s niece who’s arriving in two weeks…

Enough with visitors. What else is new?

The family is in steady state, including Osmo which is making very slow progress. He’s not god-forbid ‘slow’, he simply thinks that being (very) good looking (mehoar – hamseh) is all one needs. To him every animal is a ‘how’, every parent is ‘abba’, his sisters are ‘ta’ and everything else he needs is ‘EEEEEEEEEEEE’. He’s showing ominous signs of being the most stubborn and demanding kid we have, but since there’s nothing that we can do about it, we’ll deal with things as they happen. It just makes you wonder, Tal once spent two hours standing fifteen feet away from us crying waiting for us to make the first move to comfort her. She was two years old at the time. We’ll have to see what this evolving bully will do.

School’s out and the girls spend the mornings in a ‘kaytana’. Gallia is alone with Osmo and I’m at work. Now it’s time to say a few words about the hardships in the lives of our children. As you recall we took two girls with us to the US when we left, and they have been having a growing difficulty adjusting. The most complicated issue is settling for only one video cassette player, especially when they have more than twenty different movies to choose from. Things are made more complicated by the fact that there is only one TV and therefore watching TV and the video are mutually exclusive pass-times. When the NINTENDO was brought into the house things became unbearable. In case you don’t know Nintendo is an audio visual game which runs on a separate box connected to the TV and overrides both the TV programs and the video… To make things worse their father is also a TV addict, and every once in a while his egocentric whims force them to pursue other interests. They could go to the pool but they want me to come along (basically its what I’m for but I don’t seem to get it). If dad is not coming to the pool they can jump into the ‘jacoozie’, until the manager throws them out. When things get that bad they have no choice but to ride their bicycles, roller skates, ­roller blades or even sharing their troubles with the dozens of other children that have the same problems. Every once in an hour they attempt to compensate themselves by asking for something new. Their hit ratio is less than one in twenty, but that still means that a new piece of junk is purchased on a daily basis.

A few more tidbits.

Shaike stopped by us on his way back to Australia. It was fun to see him and sad to see him off. Udi dropped in from Texas on a business trip. Ira from Rosh came for a visit one evening, we spent a few hours discussing his ideas for starting a new company. There’s nothing I can say about it yet. Not because it’s a secret but because it’s only talk for now.

I’m coming to an important deadline in Synoptics. It’s not really clear cut that success of the current project would be the best outcome for me. If it takes off I would probably have to coach it for months to come, as opposed to starting something new if they decide to put it on hold. I should have good indications of where things are going a few weeks.

Gallia send her love.

The girls send for bamba,

Osmo doesn’t send.