Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tests and Timers

****This post is dedicated to Sharon, who should be writing anecdotals****

First of all, for those of you sitting on shpilkes ("shpilkot" in Hebrew), I did well on my oral ulpan test. There are two tests - the oral was this week, and the written is in three weeks. The oral test is basically 5-10 minutes of talking (duh) and you need it to determine your level for the written test. On Tuesday we all had a "practice" day in class and went through the sections of the oral test with our teacher. The first section is talking about yourself, when you came to Israel, your profession, your family, etc. The second section is pulling out a random card and following instructions on it. No, it doesn't say, "Run through the building wearing only tube socks, clucking like a chicken. In Hebrew." It was "situations" (aka "situatziot" in Hebrew) like making a doctor's appointment, inviting someone to a movie, etc. The third section is telling a story about yourself. So we all went around and practiced on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we had a regular day of ulpan, and we each went, one by one, to the teacher who was testing us. (Each ulpan teacher tested a different class.) I think I did okay, I told the story about walking through the pouring rain to get to the train on Chanukah, and for the most part, I had my past, present, and future tenses correct. We're not allowed to find out our scores, maybe because, like the driving instructors, they're afraid we'll rise up and kill them if we don't like the grade. In any case, our teacher, Dahlia, told us later in the morning that we all got level "gimmel" and we all did well. Phew!

So I have been having timer issues. There is a timer on our oven, which seems super convenient, because if you want to time something that you are cooking, what better place to put the timer than on the actual oven! If I am cooking on the stove, let's say, noodles, since we only eat that like 100 times a week, the timer works beautifully. 12 minutes, it beeps, my children have noodles. The problem is, if I am timing something and simultaneously using the oven, the timer gets very overwhelmed. For some reason, it will not only shut off itself midst-timing, it will also shut off my oven. So if I put something in for thirty minutes, at approximately the eleven minute mark (or twenty-five, thirteen, or four), the oven and timer will go on strike. "No more!" they say, standing together in solidarity. (They're unified like that.) So I stopped using the timer on the oven, because I was mad, and instead used the temperamental "Remember-what-time-I-put-that-in-the-oven" timer. It's not very reliable. In any case, during one of our Friday excursions, Donny and I were in a store which sells....timers! So I bought one. Yay! I thought. I used it Friday afternoon to time my chicken. I was glad to not have to rely on my own mental capacities (which are fuzzy at best by Friday afternoon) to remember when to take out the chicken. However, the time on the timer and the time in actual, real life did not seem to jive. After a while, I realized the timer was, sadly, broken. Let's just say that there have been eleven minutes left for my chicken going on a week now. So on Monday, I stopped in another store to pick up a timer. But I didn't know the Hebrew word for timer. I start explaining to the lady that I want a clock for the kitchen, but it's not really a clock, and I don't know the word...."Mishkal? (Scale?)" she offers helpfully. I shake my head, no, it's something you use when you want to know when your food is done. Her eyes light up with understanding. "Ahhhh....timerrrrrr," she says. Yes, folks, the Hebrew word for "timer" is "timer" but pronounced like "time-air" with a nice rolling "r" at the end. End of story: Today, I went to yet another store, asked for a "time-airrrrr," purchased a nice, American-looking digital one, and was all set to use it tonight for my cooking marathon when I realized I had left it in the car.

In another news.....(do you think I overuse that phrase?)....welcome to "Danny," the newest member of our Loyal Readers' Club! And don't forget to vote in the poll - it's a close race this time, and your vote could actually determine the content of the next poll! You have a voice in this blog, ladies and gentlemen! You can make a difference!

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