Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Across The Ocean Again
Shortly after my last post, Maribel called and asked if we wanted to come to visit. Traveling to Israel is not the easiest thing in the world. It takes a few weeks to handle the red tape, such as travel visas and other permissions. However, if an influential Israeli invites you to visit, the red tape becomes much less sticky. Now, Maribel is not that influential, however, the owner of the team that she plays for is. Lior Garfinkel is apparently an Israeli financier and gigantic basketball fan. He was in the U.S. during Maribel's college championship game, and actually watched the game on TV. He likes to spend time with his players, and was the person who suggested that we come for a visit. We both have current passports, I since my Olympic trip to China, and Angela received hers shortly thereafter (she figured that, since I was getting a passport, the whole family should get one).
So, on Friday the 13th, we boarded a plane and flew across the ocean to watch Maribel play. The trip was timed so that we could see Maribel play twice. The EuroLeague, of which Israel is a member, does not schedule games like we do here in the States. They typically play one game a week, practice for four days, and take two days off. Maribel says that she hasn't played this few games in the winter months since grade school. However, at this point in the season, because of upcoming all-star games and tournaments, Maribel's team had two games in five days. Thus the timing of the trip. As a side note, Maribel's next game is Monday, and then they do not play again until late March.
Maribel's team had two wins and twelve losses when we arrived. This was not especially disappointing. Another note about European basketball. In most countries, there are about four “elite” teams. These teams win their league championships every year. You might say, well in the NBA, teams like the Celtics, the Lakers, the Spurs, or the Pistons are always at or near the top. While true, all of those teams have had stretches in the last twenty years or so when they were dreadful, and other teams led the pack. This does not happen in Israel. In Israel, one of the four “elite” teams wins EVERY YEAR, period. All of the best players are placed on one of these four teams, and the other eight teams vie for what is left. Needless to say, Maribel's team is not one of the “elite” teams. Thus the two and twelve record.
There is one final note regarding professional basketball overseas. While they may recruit American players, if those players are not on one of the “elite” teams, most of the playing time goes to the home-country players. So, although Maribel appears to be better than most of the other players on her team, she only plays about ten minutes a game.
So she plays one game a week, and ten minutes a game, which means that all of her work goes towards ten minutes of playing time a week.
At least she gets paid.
To her credit, Maribel is not complaining. She's averaging about 10 points and 6 rebounds per game, which is pretty good for a sub. To make things better for her, their team's center sprained her ankle in practice the day before we arrived, so Maribel was promoted to starter. So, in the two games that we saw, Maribel played considerable, and played well. She scored more than twenty points in both games, and her team won both. So they are now four and twelve. At least they are not in last place.
We had a very pleasurable trip. Israel is a very interesting and truly unique part of the world. I will not talk about the political problems of that part of the world. I will briefly say that the problems do not seem to come from within the common people. I met many Israelis and a few Palestinians, and none of them hated each other, wanted to kill each other, or begrudged the other their faith. A few wanted to perform violence on the political leaders from the other side, but I believe I was able to convince them that bloodshed was not a proper method to show their displeasure.
Rather, I told them about a way of dealing with leaders whose methods they did not agree with. I said that they should spank them.
Wouldn't it be fantastic if we use spanking rather than killing? But, alas, that is a topic for another day.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Wrong Game At The Wrong Time
We played this game periodically until just after Maribel became old enough to climb out of her crib. One Saturday morning, Angela and I were writhing on the floor with our respective heads between the other's respective legs, when Maribel came out. The furniture was arranged so that when someone who was about two foot six walked in, they would not see someone on the floor right away. We heard Maribel say, “Mommy, what are you doing?”
Fortunately, the television was on. Angela responded, “Watching cartoons, honey. Why don't we change your diaper, then we can make some cereal and you can watch with us.” Maribel scurried back to her room, which gave Angela and I enough time to slip into our room and grab robes. After that, we had to find a new game.
The reason I relate this story is that, for some curious reason, Angela thought it might be fun to play that game again, only this time using Luke as the designated sleepyhead. Luke's general routine is that he stays awake until the latest of hours, usually watching the late-night entertainment shows, reading, or drawing. Then he sleeps until lunchtime. A lot of this is due to his illness and his medication, which sometimes makes him sleepy. He also seems to concentrate better during the quiet of the night.
The other day, after Colette had left for school, Angela came into my office wearing her jammies and a robe, and proceeded to deposit both onto the floor. “Hey,” she said, “how about we play that naked game we played when Maribel was a baby.” I immediately considered the possibility of being caught by Luke, and so I agreed.
Seeing Angela naked sometimes causes me to lose the ability to reason.
Without delay, I disrobed. Since it would be no fun to to sit alone in my office naked, I decided to go with Angela to the kitchen for a cup of tea. No sooner had I gotten my beverage and started back to my office when I heard Luke descending the stairs, a good four hours earlier than he usually arose. My brain quickly disengaged itself from my loins and I said to Angela, “Laundry room!” We scurried off to our hiding place before Luke could catch us, where there were enough clothes to allow us to dress enough to avoid embarrassment. As we returned, I said to Angela, “It was just the dryer pipe. It should work now.” I was hoping that would explain why were in the laundry room. Angela, trying to suppress a giggle, expressed her “thanks.”
We didn't even have time to have sex.
For putting us in such a precarious situation, I have informed Angela that she shall have to be given a long, hard spanking. Now I just have determine the particulars and wait for the proper opportunity.
I think that, with a new member of the household, Angela and I will have to wait a few more years before we play any similar naked games, perhaps after all of the children have left the nest. In the meantime, we can still find appropriate excuses for Luke and Colette to head out, leaving the house to ourselves for an hour or so, so that we can participate in some fantastic spanking.