Spring Forward

Next week (April 9) Israel will be holding its elections. We’re going to have the day off, and I hope everyone does their civic duty and votes.

Israel has a number of parties in the elections and when I was researching who to vote for, I found that many parties have only a few people on their lists and a handful of program points. Most parties in Israel know they have no chance of becoming the largest party putting their top person in the prime minister’s chair. They run because it’s important to have their voices in the Knesset. Israel is run by a coalition so they can sometimes be the swing vote that makes or breaks a bill or even a government coalition.

In this election, there is an actual race between two parties with full platforms: Likud run by Netanyahu and Blue and White led by a triumvirate of Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, and Moshe Ya’alon.

The popular vote is important, but it’s just the beginning of deciding who “wins” in a coalition system. The party that wins the popular vote will get the opportunity to form a coalition government. If that party can’t do it, the party with the next largest number of votes gets its chance.

Here’s my prediction: Netanyahu will “win” in spite of personal corruption scandals, his embarrassing family, and proof that bots created social media accounts to promote him (I wonder who the meddlers are?). He’s an incumbent – it will be his fifth term (think about how crazy that is!). He has his party faithful. He’s been working hard on coalition partners (distasteful as they may be and some barely over the threshold to run). People believe that his diplomatic skills and his excellent English are positive for Israel.

Even so, here’s my gratitude list for this election. I am thankful that

  1. The election cycle is only three and a half months long.
  2. Annoying text messages and calls from unknown numbers will end on April 9.
  3. I don’t watch enough Israeli TV to see all the political ads (those highlighted on social media are untranslatably horrible).
  4. I’ve managed to avoid seeing bus ads.
  5. We changed our clocks so I had one hour less of the election campaign.
  6. The election is in the spring when hope is renewed and we are reminded that this too shall pass.

IMG_20190405_161210

Wisteria in Liberty Bell Park

A citrus tree of some kind in my yard is starting to bloom and it smells wonderful!

IMG_20190406_175500

I didn’t pay any attention to this sage plant all winter and it bloomed anyway!

Spring sprung straight into summer, and it’ll be okay

This week Israel changed the clocks to Daylight Savings Time. Personally, I like longer evenings and I don’t get too wound up about changing time.

So much happened in the world this week, but I was focused on my own projects. Can I say I didn’t have time to deal with it all?

The clock change coordinated with the spring equinox and we expect certain weather changes. While parts of the world were covered in snow, Israel was sweltering in 80–86 degree (27–30 degree Celsius) weather. Strangely, on the day of the equinox, we had actual spring weather of 70 degrees, but the rest of the week felt like oppressive summer. Today is another cool day with summer on its way again on Monday. If this is spring, what will summer be like?

And yet.

During times of change and when too many things are going on, I pay special attention to the little things. I haven’t watered my window boxes for ages and I’ve let everything lie fallow. Without my help or encouragement and even out of a pile of weeds, a few flowers found their way out and let me know that everything will be ok.

IMG_20180322_170418IMG_20180322_170428IMG_20180306_085423

There’s a lesson in that for all of us.

Beautiful Allergy Season

I don’t usually suffer from allergies, but this week I found that I was sneezing and snuffly.  As I walked to the office this week, I noticed several fragrant suspects and I decided that I didn’t mind so much after all.

There’s a hidden courtyard behind the Waldorf-Astoria in Jerusalem.  Each corner seems to have something special.

IMG_20170420_090536

Orange blossoms

IMG_20170420_090611

Wisteria with a background of grapes

IMG_20170420_090647

I think this is a type of sage

IMG_20170420_090703

A rose is a rose is a rose …

IMG_20170420_090732

I don’t know what this is, but it has a very strong, sweet fragrance

IMG_20170420_090748

I don’t know what these are either, but they smell nice too.

There’s a small rose garden next to the King David Hotel.  They aren’t the typical full-bodied roses that I remember from the US, but they are still lovely.

IMG_20170420_091457IMG_20170420_091518IMG_20170420_091544IMG_20170420_091732

On the last leg of my journey, I walk through Bloomfield Park.  Here were some smaller blooms, but mostly just the typical Jerusalem greenery – olive trees and various other shrubs.

IMG_20170420_091821

I don’t know what these are, but they are tiny and pretty

IMG_20170420_092134

And come in alternate colors

IMG_20170420_092239

Soft, delicate I-don’t-know-whats

IMG_20170420_092339

Jerusalem greenery

IMG_20170420_092416

And more Jerusalem greenery

And then I arrived at the office thinking that I would rather be outside (because maybe I’m actually allergic to work?).