Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January Thaw on East Coast. How Will It Last? Illusions, Music, Parties in Israel. Henna Party...

Let's start with the weather today!

There is some snow still in New England.
But not very many other places on the East Coast.

As we can see from the sites on ...
No snow today but over the next five days a bit more.
Mostly in the West coast but that will move East in time?

That frost/freeze line inches North again.
It will in time descend again towards the South.
It's a seasonal dance that goes on every year.
If you want snow go to Colorado or Maine
That simple.
Also the storms in the NW continue.

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Rivers in the atmosphere dancing.
Spinning, turning, twisting, moving.
In the North Atlantic is a tightly wound storm.
Not a hurricane but a strong low pressure system.

Watch it spin on the water vapor loop.

So I'm going to point out the obvious here first and discuss the weather. You know the "January Thaw" going on in North America ....that continent far away from where I am typing this in Israel. January thaw means you will thaw out and then as it implies it's gone again. It's a temporary illusion of Spring, before the snow falls and coats everything in white again.

Illusions are funny. I've always been nervous when my kids were in Israel and I worry a lot as most parents do. I do feel safe and yet I know that's an illusion much like thinking winter is over. Then again anything can happen to you anywhere. At moments I think "what if" while here and then I push the thoughts away as fast as they come. Like that saying "dance as fast as you can" I just keep going and listening to music, watching the sunlight and wishing the houses had more insulation as 50 degrees here feels like 70 in Raleigh.

Many online have put out forecasts for this coming Hurricane Season based on the predictions concerning El Nino or no El Nino and I'm just not going to play that game. Honestly, it's way too soon to tell. There is a "warming" much like the "January Thaw" going on in the Pacific and if the recent past is a good measure it's worth waiting to see what it is like in April. The La Nina appeared and disappeared just as fast and can reappear as again as well. Maybe this is a "Neutral" year which really should be called "Normal" but nothing is normal about tropical weather forecasting.

Just too soon to tell and for me to start to wax poetic on any predictions would be as reliable as if I posted an astrological forecast for this coming year based on the positions of Jupiter and when it moves into Scorpio or if Saturn is in Sagittarius square Mercury at some point. I know how many of you would feel if I did that. Saying what June will be like today is more like guesstimating or wish casting for me to give a prediction currently based on a not reliable El Nino or La Nina signal. Understand? I mean I'm sure there is some Gypsy tea leaf reader here in Israel, as there are people from everywhere, but I'm not going to read tea leaves nor am I going to predict next season by weak signals currently inconsistent. As the old magic 8 ball says...................."ask again later"

I'm cold. I keep saying that but I've been told it's the lack of good insulation and that makes me think the summers here must be hot. But, it's a beach city here with a good breeze constantly blowing so that breeze must be nice in the summer.

As for me I went to a party last night for my daughter the bride known as a "Mikvah Party" or a "Henna Party" depending on how you look at it and in this case I'd say we had a Mikvah Party with Henna at the end.  Henna is for good luck and I'm not in an European area but here there are mostly Jews from Arabic and Persian countries and their customs are different than what you see in say Brooklyn. Persians do the Henna Party which is a custom. We don't paint henna, but it's smeared at the end of the party on your hand and you leave it on for about five minutes or more before washing it off before it dyes your hand. It smells heavenly as it's made from Henna stuff... (looked like dark whole wheat flour) and a tea made with what we would think of as spices for Pumpkin Spice Latte. Heavy on the cinnamon and cloves and Lord knows what else was in it. So... the house now smells from the spicy mixture as if someone spilled a gallon of Chai Tea onto the floor last night.

They place candles in the henna in a bowl.
Then dance around with the bowl distributing the henna.

It was a lot of fun. A few of my daughters were in town as was the baby grandson. Other's were changing planes in Rome or Istanbul so my mind was at times elsewhere until they arrived safely in Israel. Of course suspending all concerns about being in Israel and happy they are out of the Istanbul airport. Priorities ya know...  We danced to mostlu Sephardi music (sounds like a cross between Belly Dancing and Spanish Jazz) and I learned a few new dance steps that were Yemenite and looked really Arabic. I'm pretty sure most the dance moves are the same, but what do I know? I used a few of my Bollywood moves and they were very impressed. I know that as they started clapping their hands and doing this "LALALALALA" thing they do and it sounded a lot like "OLE OLE" in Hebrew. But its hard to keep up with them as they are always dancing and the music is ALWAYS playing here and they all dance beautifully. The older generation listens to Hebrew songs and the younger generation learns English from Beyonce and JLO. Really.

There was of course a lot of food and I'm praying the dress fits as I have yet to find the exact phrase that means "I'm sorry it looks really delicious but I'm trying not to eat carbs or anything fattening until after the Wedding when I'll eat ...really" but the next thing I know a plate filled with chicken or fish or hummus is in my hands and let's all pray I didn't gain 20 pounds in five days. My sons have eaten and traveled their way through Israel on tours where they walked enough to impress their Fitbits and well suits are so much more forgiving than gowns. I understand why people wear robes in the Middle East...............

Before the party I took a walk for some exercise.
There's a "Shuk" down the block. Think store..

I actually bought some as well as pistachio halvah.

Late in the day when it's not as busy.
Where am I?
Hard to keep remembering.
Even the Hebrew sounds strange.
So many accents....

Candy, jams and much labeled in Russian.

 These pictures were taken a few blocks away as I was walking over to the marketplace called the Shuk here in Netanya. They have a bigger, fancier one in Jerusalem that is a real tourist attraction as well as where the locals shop. In Netanya it's more for the locals and while walking through it just a few blocks from the fancy hotels you feel like you might be in Turkey or Romania but it's Netanya. Note that much here is in Russian as well as Hebrew, Arabic and English so you kind of feel like it's a Mini Russia. Big fancy, shmancy condo going in there. Views from the higher floors will be water views as the beach is a few blocks away.

There is a tremendous amount of construction going on here. Feels a bit like Miami where they knock down most of the block and rebuild. And there are hibiscus as in Miami Beach. Where am I?

Olive Oil in Israel. Extra Virgin in English....

This part of the market looks like I could be in Brooklyn.

Picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on the wall...
...and black hat stored up high.
Looks like Crown Heights.

So much fish I feel like I'm in Seattle.
But of course it's all Hebrew.
And of course olives that seem bigger here.
All the colors seem so much more intense.

So from Israel with Love...

Tonight is the wedding.
Will see how that goes...
Fog and bubbles... 
Lights and lasers during dancing.
Israeli style after the religious ceremony.
Or so I've been told.
And a bunch of my kids who came in..
..and love to dance.

So ....they are baking chocolate treats again.  much food, smells heavenly.

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter

Ps Pray the thaw lasts til I get back on Sunday.
I'm traveling through Boston... 
Miami daughter made that arrangement ;)

Enjoy an Oldie Goldie I grew up hearing.
A classic.... always.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Random Thoughts From Netanya Israel on Weather, Music, Time and Rhyme.

Kind of amazing in that I'm closer to the Indian Ocean than the Atlantic.
Caspian Sea, Mediterranean Sea.
Dead Sea, Red Sea.
How did I get here?
Is this really me?
Everywhere I see ...
...there are orange trees....

Okay I'm not sure I'll rhyme that much here but this is definitely the time to wax poetic on the beauty of Israel especially from my vantage point in Netanya. First off Netanya is known as the Israeli Riviera and it lives up to that tourist tag. It is very Mediterranean in a California coastline way. There are flowers everywhere even in January on a cold day and the brightest oranges I've ever seen on trees laden with the most orange trees I've ever seen everywhere. I'm from Florida and I've lived in California so that says a lot. They median in the street and in the front yards are filled with citrus trees where people actually reach up, take a few and take them home. This is not Miami where someone may shoot you for grabbing a mango...

From my balcony I look down and see .....
.....either lemons, citrons or grapefruit trees.
The fruit are the flowers of Israel.

And there are a lot of flowers as well everywhere.
Plumeria trees without flowers because it's winter.
Faded hibiscus fighting to stay open despite the cold.
Even on the recycling bins there are flowers.
My son likes it my nephew does not.
It's sort of a contest who can add that last bottle?
Or maybe they guilt you into it...
Either way there's flowers there too!

Snapdragons recently planted.
Palm trees of every kind everywhere.
Okay no coconuts but all the others.
Date palms.
I had fresh dates with yogurt for breakfast!

And then you get to the beach....
The trees lean as the wind from the Mediterranean always blows...
.. a lot like Miami and the breeze from Biscayne Bay.

Does that not look like the Riveria?

Looks like a painting. 
Taken with my Note 5 seriously...

So really Israel is hard to explain.
So many people from so many places in one small nation.
Orthodox Jews, secular Jews.
Different traditions.
Druze Arabs fight in the Israeli army.
They are considered the best fighters.
It's just a big mish mash like a delicious stew.

Israel unfolds slowly like a rose bud.
Each petal opens and waits for the next.
Each moment, each place.
First the beach, then the plains.
Then the desert, then the mountains.
Then Jerusalem that feels like the Center of the World.
Arabs, Jews.
Where am I?

I'm a little bit everywhere.
But I'm here.
It does feel like home in a way.

Where ever you are there is family.
Friends coming and going.
I have at least a dozen Facebook friends here.
Real life friends from Miami NY and California.
Am In in NY or California or Israel?

And there's 770 Chabad headquarters in Israel.... 
...awkwardly amazing as if it picked itself up and landed in Israel.
Kind of like me right now.

Looks like a Mayan structure.
By the beach, by the hotels.
Somehow it looks perfectly normal.

It's warm today so enjoying it.
I prayed on the balcony that was so hot in the warm sun.
The sounds of the city below.
The aroma of the food being cooked for a party tonight.
The women have a party tonight for the bride.
It's not my custom so I'll see what it is when I see it.

Israel it's really not what you expect...

Great music too!

One of the most popular singers here... in NY too!

Beautiful video... 
...shows the mix of cultures, music, styles.

Nissim is awesome.
Story below tho just Wikipedia

Alex Clare studied at Aish here in Jerusalem.
Best known for the song "Too Close"
Also his relationship with Amy Winehouse but don't ask him on it.
Studies in Israel now and records music.

Lastly a CD my son produced is #1 
Well in those charts in Israel that relate to Orthodox Music.
Newest Single

Tell me what you need..............

Benny Friedman's new CD.
My son buying a copy in Israel.....
....of a CD he produced. Wild.
Here for his sister's wedding.
How cool is that?

A little plug here.
Great CD
Very popular in Israel and around the world.

Kind of amazing back in August had no idea I'd be here now.
Life is like that sometimes.
It surprises you in good ways.

May your life be filled with good surprises!

Will blog as time allows.
Wedding tomorrow night.
Beautiful couple.
Can't wait to dance.
Weddings here are wild dance wise...

Besos BobbiStorm

Ps....And have a lot of kids in transit for the wedding.
So a bit scattered and the house smells of a million more calories...
...for the Mikva Party tonight.... 

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Blogging from What is it like? Cold, warm... both and wild.

That was last night in Jerusalem at the Wall. 
We prayed there a while.
I got to watch sunset as we drove up to the Wall.
We also did the Tunnel Tours. 
You MUST do them if you go..
You don't have to be Jewish.
We had Germans, people from Thailand and Americans.
It really gives you a sense of history, the bible and just a wonder of the world.
They explain the geography, weather and history and how it relates.
How various generations of invaders came and went.
Each adding their own style and touch to the construction.
The very mountain the "Wall" of the Old Temple is built on is HIGH.
Note it's a lot of walking..

So I'm posting from Netanya in Israel. It's a beach city much like Miami Beach in ways but more a combination of Santa Monica and Miami Beach with a touch of Laguna Beach thrown in as well. Sort of like you are in a movie where everyone is speaking in Hebrew and you can't find subtitles in English unless you see PIZZA HUT, IKEA or OFFICE DEPOT signs in English lit up along the side of the road in neon lights. National Geographic Channel is on tv here everywhere with Hebrew Subtitles, I guess that's why Israelis love to travel and see the world. And then many come back to Israel while others stay in America a while. My son-in-law to be is from Netanya of Yemenite/Persian background and his family has lived in Israel for generations. He lives and works in Miami where he met my daughter and they've been together a long time so I feel more like he's a son than a stranger coming into the family. It's a custom to go the Wall before the Chuppah which is the RELIGIOUS wedding ceremony vs a regular legal one in America. Sometimes we do it the other way around as when I got remarried I had a Chuppah but waited a few years for the legal, civil ceremony.

To understand this blog post I attended Hebrew School when I was little after public school where I learned for a few years to say things like EMA BO! Meaning Mother is here! Then ABA BO! Meaning Father is here. Maybe it was Po but think it was Bo so you get the idea. I can't really speak Hebrew but I can read it and understand a little. My list of words is mostly things like "now" "only" "if" "what" "who" "good" "no" "ok" which isn't enough to really string a sentence together but works a bit. His family doesn't speak English. One brother does a bit and a brother in law speaks some as well as Spanish as he was born in Argentina. Yay I can speak a bit of Spanish. Yiddish doesn't work well here as it is mostly a European blend of Hebrew and German so that only works if you are some where that American's who are orthodox or people from England made Aliyah.

When I try to speak Hebrew my mind mixes it all into a mish mash of one word English, one Spanish, one Hebrew and one Yiddish so I smile a lot.

It's very much like LA in that you can drive a half an hour up a mountain and going from boots and sweaters being okay to suddenly freezing.

The spiritual aspect of it is slow to hit me and unfolds the way a rose does as you see layers of it all. The sun setting on the Arab quarter was awesome. It reminds me of Seattle a bit ways and then Laguna and then "OH wow I'm in Israel!"

So here are some pictures and this is where I am living on the Israeli weather sites. Note you have to change them to F from C and well you get the idea.

What I don't understand is..............
55 degrees in Jerusalem seems so much colder than Raleigh.
It's really cold and in Raleigh I'd wear a sweater ...
...yet here I needed a winter coat.
And yet in summer it would be warm so...
... I'm not getting a summer vacation from winter.

The fruit in the shuk wow.
You can live on the halvah and baklava a lone.

Arab area... nice.

Some of the family "at the wall"

So that's it.

I'm either going to the beach or the Dead Sea or Jerusalem later.
I'm here with several kids and family so everything is fluid.

Sorry for any typos, I'm tired.
Jet lag but running.

love you all and will let Mike do American weather this week.

I'll be back next week covering winter weather and anything tropical.

Besos BobbiStorm
Shalom in Israel

@bobbistorm on TwitterB

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Sunday, January 08, 2017

Winter in Carolinas Single Digit Temps. West Coast Winter Storm. Tropical Weather in the Pacific. Trying to Stay Warm Under the Covers What;s a Warm Nose?

You know that song, "Baby it's cold outside" ??
It's stuck on a loop and playing over and over where I live.
In Raleigh we won't be above freezing until late Tuesday.

So everyone wants to know why I didn't post my pictures of the snow in Raleigh. To be honest, it's cold out there. It's actually pretty cold IN here under the covers where I am hiding until it's above freezing. Hey, Miami Girl in Raleigh is very happy under the covers. Sometimes I walk around the house and take the cover with me...  My kids sent me a purple, warm, velvet throw for my birthday which is now a Super Girl Cape BobbiStorm style. I bought cashmere leggings last winter that I didn't wear and wearing them a lot or rather as often as possible. They are so warm. Oh and I have a great sweatshirt that is fleece lined and keeps me very warm.

You think to yourself this is silly and it's winter but in Raleigh it's only winter for a few days and then BAMN the snow starts to melt and it's all over. January Thaw lasts way into February when Mother Nature makes us remember it's still winter for a few days again. I'm in the process of packing for Israel and leaving on Thursday. It will be a balmy 57 degrees there! I can put on my lightweight leggings :) I have a family wedding and I have never been to Israel and I have to go and well that's the way it goes. I'm trying to figure out Israel weather and where the storm systems come in from and listening to Israeli music to get in the mode while eating cornbread I baked today in North Carolina to stay warm. When the oven's on and something is in it I feel much warmer, I'm sure it's psychological.

In truth there are some awesome pictures up by people who actually went out in the snow when it was falling on Saturday and got incredible pictures. I keep the Jewish Sabbath so I wasn't traveling or wandering with my camera over the river or through the woods. I was inside, watching it with a cup of hot tea and staring out my big windows as the sleet, freezing rain and snow fell. It was awesome. I'm going to post a few incredible pictures I saw online Saturday night below. They are way better than any I would have taken.

This incredible photographer took these pictures.

Someone else below explains the story with a picture.
#warmnose and that's why we had freezing rain, sleet then snow.
Because we had freezing rain the roads are frozen ice under the snow.
We had less snow as we had sleet and that cuts down the snow totals.
Basically we got a little bit of all the winter weather.

It's a Southern Thang... happens often.

Up north my daughter took this awesome picture of the sunset.
From her kitchen window in Bayswater aka Far Rockaway.

She gets awesome views there.
It's awesome cold.
She'll be warm again soon.
She's awesome. 
She'll go to Israel and talk on how awesome it is.
She lived there a few times, it was awesome.
I'm cold this is as descriptive as I get while typing under the cover.
It's warm under the covers ;)

Speaking of warm it will be warm again soon in Raleigh.
The Bi Polar weather in Raleigh is doing it's thang.

Raleigh this weekend below... Winter Wonderland!!

We are going from this above to highs in the low 70s in 5 days..
Tuesday it will be 15 and the next day 59 degrees.
Tonight is expected to be in the single digits.
This is why people move to Raleigh.

They can get a taste of winter and then whoosh it's gone!

The winter weather came from Russia across the Arctic.

And then whoosh it's gone.

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You can see this Arctic dip dancing down way to the South.

Even Miami found winter finally.
Or winter found Miami...

My kids in Miami are really cold.
They are really, really cold.
Just saying.

And speaking of Tropical....
...there's something tropical in the Pacific.

You see somewhere it's always tropical.

And so as I stay warm here under the covers.
I'm going to end here cause my fingers are cold while typing.
I don't like the heater too high as it messes with my head.
Yes I know I could put on a humidifier.
I could also stay under the covers where I'm cozy.

And the weather watch moves West to California.
A very strong winter storm is causing flooding.

(I don't speak conversational Hebrew, how am I doing?)
(Go Google!!)

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter

Ps Enjoy the song from the great singer Gad Elbaz...
...and incredible rapper singer Nissim Black.

Composer: Gad Elbaz
Lyrics: Nissim Black

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