Monday, July 30, 2007

Week of Sunday, July 29 - Saturday, August 4

This week I will do challenge 27: Go to a trial. Here in Toronto, the courts are open to the public and I remember in grade 7 going on a trip with my class to see a trial. Most of them were fairly uninteresting, like failing to pay for a parking ticket, but there was one woman who had stolen a $1000 coat from Holt Renfrew. She got a ticket and a restraining order dictating that she was not allowed to come within a certain distance of any Holt Renfrew store. And I couldn't help wondering how they could enforce that! I mean, they don't have checkpoints stationed 100 meters away from Holt checking your ID to make sure you can get closer to the store...
Anyways, so I'll visit Old City Hall this week, it's not too far from my house, and it's open to the public. However I do think I may go to a criminal trial as it sounds more interesting, and because Old City Hall only holds criminal trials.
I'm looking forward to this one because it's interesting to look into the way a courtroom is run, and to see what kind of people come in, study their body language and reactions. I hope to do this soon!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Volunteering, and My Day

Okay, so I didn't start this blog for diary-esque purposes, but I just have to say I've been having a really good day today. I feel really down-to-earth, connected, into what's going on around me. I'm listening to the Imogen Heap song Just For Now, watching this video of her recording it using a sampler. And I'm off soon to see the Simpson's movie! I love the Simpson's almost as much as I love Family Guy, so I'm excited.
I did the volunteering challenge on Wednesday! I went with a friend down to Etobicoke at 8am (had to wake up at 6:30!) to a neighbourhood that had no place for kids to play and no money to build something themselves. So the Kaboom! oganization, along with Build A Bear Workshop, organized approximately 60 volunteers to come build a playground in one day. It was a fantastic experience, although I discovered that I'm absolutely useless with a hammer, that shoveling really kills your arm muscles (quick googling told me it was the extensor muscle), and that babysitting a bunch of little kids whose parents are trying to be good citizens gets very tiring after a few hours. It was a great experience, and it felt good to be volunteering because I want to, and not because I have to.
Must go, though. Don't want to be late for the movie.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Week of Sunday, July 22 - Saturday, July 28th

This week I am doing challenge number 46: volunteering!

I signed up to help build a playground in an at-risk neighbourhood in Toronto. I think it's a great opportunity to give something back to the community. And it works nicely for me, because it's a one-day thing (from 8am to 3pm) and as I'm not going to be in Toronto after August, a long-term thing would've been impossible.

I'm really excited for this, even though the prospect of waking up at 7am doesn't delight me. But I think it'll be great!

Meet the Parents

This week's challenge was making dinner for my family. I think it's safe to say the purpose was that I'd learn how to make food, be able to do something for my family, and have fun!
Well, that's not exactly what happened. But I did have fun!

I decided that Friday would be a good day to make dinner for my family. After all, before we all moved to different continents, we'd sit down for dinner every Friday night together, and it felt good to do it again.

I thought long and hard of things that I, with my extremely limited cooking ability, could make. I decided pasta with mushrooms in a rosé sauce with salad and potatoes could work nicely. What happened was that my brother forgot to pick up the mushrooms and potatoes on his way home, the cream for the sauce was spoiled, and we didn't have half the veggies we needed for salad.

I was at a bit of a loss.

So I called my dad into the kitchen, and we improvised and managed to make a decent pasta in tomato sauce and a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers, and... that was about it. We went crazy with the pasta, trying out different experiments for the sauce (we put yogurt in the tomato sauce...) and had a lot of fun and made a big mess.

I got a lot more out of this dinner than I bargained for. I got decent food and a good time, sure. But I think the best part about dinner on Friday was spending time with my dad. We had a great time together, trying to make our meal look decent. And because my dad and I don't see each other a lot during the year, it was nice being able to do that with him.

I'd call last week's challenge a success!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Week of Sunday, July 15 - Saturday, July 21

This week I've chosen to do challenge 19, "Make dinner for everyone in the house."
I'm gonna do this thoroughly: plan out the meal, find recipes, buy all the required groceries and then cook - on my own!
If any of you have any suggestions, ideas, or recipes, please post them! Just remember that the level of difficulty should be fairly low and the meals have to be vegetarian as both my brother and I are.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Challenge Number 32

Alright, I can start right off by saying I had a little bit of trouble with this challenge. I gave up TV for five days (alright, so I was away at camp, but STILL! I didn't watch any TV). But when I got home from camp I had a fever, headache, and nausea. I couldn't read anything, because that worsened my headache, so books and computer were ruled out. The only other thing I could do lying down was basically television. So I'm very, very sorry if you think I cheated, but it was better than dying of boredom.
I also want to post some pictures of the camp, things we built and stuff, so here you go:

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Week of Sunday, July 8th - Saturday, July 14th

My challenge for this week is to give up TV for the week. Okay, it'll be a bit easy since five of the days I'm away at summer camp (counselor ;) ) but for the rest of the time... Not that I watch that much TV anyways. Whatever. So this is challenge number 32 and it shall become red next Saturday. I gotta go to sleep, have to wake up in four hours.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Week of Sunday, July 2 - Saturday, July 8

This week isn't over yet, but I got so trigger-happy about my new camera that I decided to do this week's challenge today. This week I did challenge #23 on my list: writing my regrets down on pieces of paper and then burning them. I had some fun with this, writing regrets that were very serious along with regrets that were just stupid things I did, but I learned from them.
In all, all of these regrets are things that I know I should have done without, but I'm glad I did them because I've learned a lot. Which means that none of them are true, deep regrets, because if I could go back in time I probably still wouldn't change a thing.
It sounds kinda stupid, but a pretty powerful feeling hung about the air as I sat in the sand behind my house and burned the seven little cue-notes. I felt like was really letting go of something. I'm sure I'll still feel a lot of pain regarding some of those regrets, but I know that they're behind me now, that I've dealt with them. Here are some pictures I took:

My regrets...



So I got a digital camera, finally! It's an Olympus FE-190, and it cost me 900NIS (roughly 200 USD) of the money I earned all by myself. I'm really proud to finally own something valuable out of money that I worked hard for. Here are a few pics of my gorgeous new cam:

Monday, July 2, 2007

Digital Camera

So tomorrow (today technically, in Israel time) on July 3rd I am purchasing my very own digital camera (with my very own money, I might add). Which means that either tomorrow or the day after, I will do challenge number 23 and post it along with photos. Good times :)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Week of Sunday, June 24 - Saturday, June 30

This week I did number 2 on my list - I went to scouts every day. I went on Sunday to help paint posters for the summer camp, on Monday to help build things for the summer camp, on Tuesday for my first weekly meeting with my group (fifth grade boys!), on Wednesday to help get things ready for the summer camp, on Thursday for the ceremony where the ninth-graders became part of the older group, on Friday for the second weekly meeting with my group, and on Saturday to help load all the summer camp stuff we built into the containers so that the trucks can take them up north.

The way summer camp works in Scouts in Israel is that grades 9-12 arrive in a forest with a large clearing somewhere in the north of the country. Then, for 5 days, we use logs, ropes, and large teepee cloths to build the whole camp- including large tents for sleeping, a kitchen, a mess hall, a gate for the entrance, the showers, etc. Everything. And five days later grades 4-8 arrive for their 4 days of the summer camp experience.
We leave July 4th and come back the 12th, so between then I won't be updating, but I will still do a challenge that week! I just have to plan ahead.

As we are at the end of the school year, I figured it would be appropriate to do number 23. I've had a tough year and done a lot of stupid things, and I think it would be nice to burn my regrets. Hopefully I'll get pictures up, too!

Ciao, kids.
- Alona

The Fifty-Two Week Challenge

So here's what this is all about: There are fifty-two weeks in a year, fifty-two weeks during which most of our time is spent wasted. I decided to make a list of fifty-two challenges for myself, one to accomplish each week, in any random order.
The idea is not totally my own. I borrowed it from a website, An Alternative to Slitting Your Wrist, a site run by a guy called Owen who made a documentary of his challenge-a-week plan. His challenges, however, were different than mine. His challenges were to do things he had always wanted to do. My challenges are ways to make a difference in my life and in the lives of others.

My name is Alona. I'm 16 years old. I'm IsraCanadian, currently living in Israel. I play piano and I'm starting to play guitar. I'm a Scouts counselor. Scouts is very big in Israel. I travel every major vacation to Toronto to visit my dad, brother, and friends. I don't have a driver's license yet (learner's permits in Israel are acquired at 16 and a half). I don't like labels, but if I had to label myself to make this section of my blog shorter, I'd choose: Vegetarian, bookworm, musician, ecologically-conscious.

Thanks to the MetaFilter community for helping me build my list!

So now that you know a little bit about me and why I'm doing this, here is my List.

This year, for one week each I will:

1. Learn this list.
2. Be at tzofim every day. (my Israeli scouts!)
3. write only in lowercase letters.
4. Read a book.
5. Tell at lease one person each day how much I appreciate them.
6. Learn a new song a day on guitar.
7. Learn one new piece on the piano.
8. Write in a journal every day.
9. Not eat sugar all week.
10. Go someplace different each day to take pictures.
11. Draw every day.
12. Finally perfect my juggling skills.
13. Make a half-hour each day for "Alona time" to just sit and think. And the ten minutes before I fall asleep don't count!
14. Sit in the waiting room of the emergency clinic at a local hospital and take notes.
15. Read an article a day on Wikipedia.
16. Do yoga every day.
17. Surprise someone each day with something that will make them happy.
18. Drink just water.
19. Make dinner for everyone in the house.
20. Meditate
21. Run for 20 minutes each day.
22. Make someone's wish come true.
23. Write all my regrets on notes and burn them.
24. Find a place to be a wallflower and watch life from the outside.
25. Learn basic sentences in a different language (like German).
26. Grow food (or at least, start growing food).
27. Go to a civil trial.
28. Go to a protest.
29. Catch up on my cinematic education. Meaning: watch movies such as the Godfather, Minority Report, Pulp Fiction, Star Wars, etc.
30. Forgive someone I am mad at.
31. Make a video and post it on YouTube.
32. Give up TV for a week.
33. Eat vegan.
34. Climb a tree.
35. Mail a letter to someone different each day of the week.
36. Donate all my old clothes.
37. Collect stories from my older relatives.
38. Floss my teeth.
39. Learn to do tricks with a yo-yo.
40. Read the entire Sunday paper.
41. Plan a daytrip on Sunday for the coming Saturday, and spend the rest of the week excited about it.
42. Make a family tree.
43. Strike up a conversation with someone new each day.
44. Buy nothing.
45. Go to a lecture.
46. Volunteer.
47. Listen to a new album each day.
48. Try a new culture for the week- including food, clothing, music, etc.
49. Get back in touch with an old friend.
50. Only speak when spoken to.
51. Go to a movie alone.
52. Write an essay.

*53.Write out my goals for this project and keep them in mind throughout the rest of the year.