A few things:
1. Today I took my newspapers to the round, green paper dumpster/recycling bin down the street, and lo and behold, someone had painted it, beautifully. Instead of just plain forest green, the local paper recycling thingie now has leaves and pretty patterns, and a dove flying over an abstract-ish city. Oh, and the words "liniyar bilvad" ("for paper only") painted tastefully in the upper right-hand corner. It's so pretty. Some anonymous person has made my day!
2. Most people in my neighborhood dry their laundry, as I do, by hanging it outside their windows, on laundry lines. Dryers are expensive, and the hot Israeli sun does the trick in a couple of hours. But lately I've noticed that my neighborhood has been looking nicer than usual . . . because hardly anyone has been putting out laundry . . . because it is the 9 days! Wow! In America this custom would be considered nutty, and here it's just taken for granted. Nine days, no laundry. Pretty neat.
3. I've been feeling really down lately. Nothing in particular, just the standard loneliness/ my 32nd birthday is coming up and I'm still single/ the last time I had a second date was about 8 months ago/ no one asks me out/ can't remember the last time I was touched by a heterosexual male/ I'll probably grow old alone/ I'll never have any kids/ there's nothing wrong with me so why is this happening . . . . thing. Perhaps more about that later.