Friday, August 30, 2013


Degerit Berest
Tr:  Trust

Syria's a bit on my mind. I look to the people around me for clues about how to act.  Everyone's going about normally---to work, swimming in the pool, getting lunch.  I'll continue to do the same.  We did get an email that we would be notified if an emergency were to occur, giving us directions.  But the chances of an emergency occurring are very low, this email said.  I'm trusting the email and the people I see around me.  Moving on.

Last night we finished the season of Orange Is the New Black.  Great show.  Disturbing show.  I spent some time on wiki-know-it-all-ia after watching to learn all I could OItNB.  The real life Piper who wrote the OItNB memoir is married to Larry Smith who created the six word memoir.  I love the six word memoir books.  What a power couple.

My six word memoir for today:  I keep looking for something different.

Degerit Berest
If you want, you can write one in the comments.  It could be epic.  But no pressure.   I fear I may be pressuring my friends and family a bit too much with too frequent emailing.  So that's why I'm playing around with trusting that I can send emails as often as I want with no negative repercussions. I also trust that my new writing goal of writing every single day this year will be a fun experiment.  So far, 2 days down. Writer James Todd Rubin inspired the streak.  Without knowing it he wrote his own 6 worder:  "The streak in itself is powerful."  Even though it's Friday, our day off, Husbandman and I are going to work a bit this morning.  He has a meeting with a MathMan and I have a streak to attend to.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Yom Huledet Sameakh, IMA!

TR:  Happy Birthday, Mom!

Dear Mom,
      Happy Birthday!  You're probably really happy that you're getting your birthday card on my blog, rather than through the international postal services.  This way you don't have to walk to the mail box and you get it on the right day.

      I did buy you a card here, but then I didn't want to deal with figuring out how to mail it.  The supermarket is already causing me fits so the post office is probably way out of my league.
Here's what your card looks like:

It says Happy Birthday on the front and inside it says, Celebrate!  I will keep it and send it to you for real next year.

     I hope you have the happiest day Mom.  I am so jealous that Danny's there to share your day with you.  Danny probably thinks he's so great because he came home and I didn't.  Give him a cuff to the ear for me please.  Also please remind Dad and all my sibs that they are welcome to come visit me here any time they please.  I would be very happy to see any/all of you.  Baruch haba!  WELCOME!

      I love you so much Mom.  You're an inspiration to me.  Your love and support are always with me and I always feel you're on my team.  Even when things get tough, you always have a way of making them seem a little lighter, a little funnier. Please don't ever change.  I like you just the way you are.

      Peter (Husbandman) says 83 is a great birthday to have because it's a prime number.  You will not be prime again until 89.  I promise to be home for that one.  If we were with you now, we would make you a strawberry short cake.  But could you make Peter a key lime pie?  That seems fair and right.

      Love to you, from Haifa, dear Mother Mine.  This evening we will sit next to the Mediterranean Sea and watch the sunset and we will have a toast to Ann Heffernan, greatest mom in town. We will celebrate our great fortune and happiness at having you in our lives.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Tr:  Falafel

I actually read the word falafel last night on a store front.  It was an experience kind of like Helen Keller had, when she finally figured out sign language at the water pump with Annie Sullivan.  I was ecstatic and impressed with myself like there's no tomorrow.  Husbandman's behind me on the letter learning so he didn't share my glee. Too bad so sad Husbandman. You've got to do the time to be sublime. (I just made up this new phenomenal expression).   I'm now determined to learn to read more words.  No one can stop me.

I've been reading advice on how to get some writing done on various tumblrs.  Tears in the Typing Pool tumblr posted a letter from artist Sol Lewitt to artist Eva Hesse.  He basically told her to do "some bad work, the worst you can think of."  Another tumblr suggested that writers relax and "let everything go to hell."  Adopting this laissez faire attitude helped me out yesterday as I scribbled out a few bad pages for the revised outline.  I'm thinking these tips could be helpful in life generally.  Just let it all go to hell, do as poorly as I possibly can.  It's a mindshift that could lead somewhere.  I hope to somewhere good.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Tr:  English

Sunday's here, so it's back to work today.  Yesterday was our 3 week anniversary in Israel.  So far, we love it here.

Quick weekend wrap up:

On Friday we went grocery shopping in a larger, better shop.  The cashier was very nice to us and kept telling me how to bag our stuff, "More one!  More one!" I figured out this meant to add one more plastic bag.  Loved that gal.

Then off to see Wolverine.  Good, but sometimes the characters spoke in Japanese, and there were no subtitles for those parts, so we had to use our inferential reasoning skills.  Not too tough. We were planning to see Two Guns, which was advertised on their web page, but when we got there, the cashier said it wasn't playing because there was an event.  What?

Ended the day with a beach trip.  I wore my glasses into the sea, thinking I could keep my head above water, but an insidious massive killer wave knocked me over and snatched them right off my face.  Luckily I have a back up pair.  But I'm still pretty angry at the Mediterranean Sea.  Damn you, M.S. I loved those glasses a lot.

Yesterday we drove south.  Stopped at the Aqueduct Beach to take some pix.  Herod built the aqueduct and the romans added to it back in the 200's.  Still standing.  So neat to see the beachers using the aqueduct arches as shelters to set up shop for their beaching.  Then we drove to the ultra hip city of Tel Aviv. The art museum is phenomenal.  Great Warhol exhibit right now.

Walked along the beach next.  Everyone plays matcot here on the beach.  It's paddle ball.  When 10,000 people are playing it, there's quite a funny racket. Saw a hoopoe hopping around in the grass.  Next time we go, we'll rent bikes on the beach and zip around.

Ended the day in Jaffa, just south of Tel Aviv.  The town's been inhabited since 7,500 BCE.  It was used as a port during the bronze age.  C'mon.  That's wild.
 I love all these ancient antiquities of yore.  Sadly, my camera ran out of batteries and I could only take bad pictures on the iPhone.  Not diss'ing the iphone though.  It gets us places and then it gets us home from places.  Toda Raba iPhone!

Back to work, mateys. For now, the fun is done.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Tr:  Hand

We saw this lizard last weekend.  We're also encountering many stray cats every where we go.


Yaara Zach
Tr:  Big

Today Husbandman is gone.  He went to Tel Aviv for a one day math meeting.  I miss Husbandman.

I am reading and listening to the words of Sir Ken Robinson this week.  He writes about creativity and education.  If you haven't heard his TED talks, listen asap.  If you have, listen again asap.  You'll be glad you did. Promise.

I like the way he talks about intelligence being diverse (we can think about things using language, math, movement, abstractions, etc), dynamic (it's interactive) and distinct (people can be exceptionally intelligent in specific areas).

Sir KR says that being creative involves questioning my own ways of looking at things.  I'm trying to re-write my dissertation which is kind of a tough gig.  I wrote it, now I have to rewrite it?  But the whole diss is on revision, so it would be odd to complain too much about that. I'm trying to not be too married to my ideas.  Sir Ken says that if I'm not prepared to be wrong, I'll never come up with anything original.

I'm going to question myself from time to time today and I'm preparing to get it wrong.  Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy???

Monday, August 19, 2013


Avraham Eilat
Tr:  Beach

Today's been an epic fail, due to sleep deprivation.  The only thing that made today not a colossal epic fail was my lack of employment.

But still, epic fail.

On the good side, I watched a video about a boy who had a sea snail growing inside his knee.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Boker Tov

Tr:  Good morning

Sunday morning here. Will recount the wonders of the weekend thusly.

Drove to Ein Hod on Saturday.  Ein Hod is an artist's colony begun in the 1950's by Marcel Janco, a dadaist.  The town is small and very beautiful, sculptures everywhere.  We toured the Janco museum.  I love Dada.  The museum filled me with pleasure.  Art made of funny, provocative combinations.  Shoes and cigarettes.  Bikes and books.

 Next we drove through Mt. Carmel National Park.  There was a fire here some years ago, and you can see the greenery trying to make a comeback.  Took some pictures of this striking memorial which helps us remember those who died in the fires.  Husbandman and I need to research the hiking trails for next time we visit.
 After some driving around and checking out the park, we returned home for a swim in the pool, then we saw the movie you all have read about in our earlier blog post.

Yesterday we celebrated our 2 week anniversary here.  We started our morning with a walk on the Louis Promenade, checked out the scenery. The promenade is a beautiful shaded walkway.  #1 Son should do some busking here.  The buskers were not the best.  Visited in the Bahai Gardens a bit, but we were too late to go in to the main gardens.
 Then we drove to Caesarea National Park.  Caesarea was built around 20 BCE by King Herod.  WILD.  There have been people who have taken over Caesarea from time to time:  Romans, Muslims, Crusaders.  They just kept coming and going over the centuries. It's an archaeological wonder.  Great site.  We walked all over, despite the grueling heat.  There were times we thought we were so hot that we'd just fall onto the ground and let the heat burn off all our skin and soft tissue.
 Basically put an end to the whole thing, so to speak.  But we soldiered on, as good tourists must, and drove back to the Technion for a swim in the pool.

A beautiful weekend here.  Now it's time to get back to work. But first, some cornflakes. Another cup of tea as well.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Review: Caesar Must Die

Amami is an independent movie theater right here in our neighborhood.  Last night we went there to see an Italian movie called Caesar Must Die.  It's about a prison production of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare's play.  Just fyi, I memorized a part of this play in 8th grade and competed in a dramatic monologue competition.  Failed in Round 1. attitude's not good about this play from the get go.  Here's our review:

Lw:  What did you think?
Hm:  I thought it was okay.  I liked the acting, especially considering the actors were actual prisoners.
Lw:  I wish I had known that while watching the film.
Hm:  But even if that weren't the case, I think we would have thought the acting was quite good.
Lw:  Yes, the acting was good.  And the staging within the prison was effective.  Here's the thing I did not like.  We really didn't get much information about the prisoners themselves.
Hm:  Right.  I thought it was going to be more like French Lieutenant's woman, where the plot shifted back and forth between the reality and the drama, but there was no time spent on the reality of these prisoners' situations.
Lw:  Kudos to you for introducing an apt comparison.  How bout the fist of 5?
Hm:  I'm giving it a 2.5.  Though it could have gone up to a 3 if I'd tried one of the fruit tarts sold in the lobby before the movie.
Lw:  I'm giving it a 2 because I had twitchy leg syndrome through the whole darned thing and was very uncomfortable.
Hm:  (looking up some treatments for Restless Leg Syndrome on his computer).  It's a neurological disorder.  1 in 10 people get it....(continues to read about my disorder, thus increasing my lonely sense of desperation about the twitching syndrome).
Lw:  Okay, the review is done.  If people want to see Caesar Must Die, they probably should. The Italian prisons seem a little nicer than American prisons.  The prisoners wear their own clothes, not the orange jumpsuits.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Tr:  Restrooms

Spent about 15 minutes working today, but that's okay because I enjoyed myself very much creating a new webpage.

I'm pleased with it, overall.

I'm a little bit copycatting Amy Krause Rosenthal.  She has fun ideas, and she likes people to have fun, so I don't think she would mind, but don't tell her if you happen to run into her.

It didn't take me too long to make the webpage.  I spent a lot of the other time thinking about stuff.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Tr:  Excuse Me.  I learned this word early on thinking it would come in handy, but I could never bring myself to say it.  Then when we were in the way crowded SHUK (market) last week I heard someone saying it behind me.  I thought, "Hey that sounds like someone's saying excuse me!" Took me awhile to realize I was right and that I should get out of the person's way.

Fooling around with Evernote to organize an article.  Why am I doing this?

1.  Because I like to learn new tech stuff.
2.  Scrivener was recommended but costs $.
3.  I was going to make a wiki, but this is just going to be for me.
4.  There are different parts to this project and I want to keep them organized.

Not sure Evernote's the way to go though.  It pops all these different notes into a file, but it could still end up being a big mess.  If you've got a better idea, please let me know.

Time for a nectarine while I ponder this.  Last night we swam at the Technion pool. Tonight we're heading down to the beach for dinner at a boardwalk cafe.  Didn't want you to think I was overexerting myself over here.

I was getting a little stressed about my writing goals, but then I read in my Artist's Way book that I should focus on the project as playful learning, rather than a chore. Rather than succumbing to negative thoughts about my progress, I should put my energy into being vigilant about treating myself kindly and gently.  Thought I'd give it a try.  This past school year was so chock-filled with worry and frustration.  Why not focus on a little enjoyment for a change?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Toda Raba

Tr:  Many thanks.

The Technion campus smells like pine trees. It's up on Mt. Carmel so there are great views down onto the city and beyond to the Mediterranean.  I love living on a college campus.  It's summer session so it's not very crowded right now.  We live in the campus hotel for academic visitors, just for this month.  It's kind of nice living in a hotel, but it's a little cramped too.  Husbandman wanted to take a nap yesterday after lunch and I discouraged him kindly and subtly because I wanted to be alone for awhile.  I felt a little badly about that, but he was understanding.  Plus, a woman we call "the meany" comes in every day to clean the room in the morning, so I head out to a coffee shop, using this break in routine as an excuse to fool around longer on the internets and to read random articles.  We're not sure if she's a meany or not, but she doesn't seem super friendly.  She certainly wasn't happy about having to get our beach towel from the balcony on the floor below ours because the wind blew it down from our balcony.  Our bad okay?

We know our way from the hotel to the beach now so I can look out the window as Husbandman drives, and I don't have to stare at the gps on the phone yelling out stuff like, I'm not sure! and You missed the turn! Last night we made it to the beach, but there was a concert happening and we couldn't park in our normal spot.  We asked a guard where we can park and we told him we wanted to take a walk on the beach.  "Oh that will be very romantic for you," he said.  Buddy, we can dispense with the witty remarks, I wanted to say, but he gave us directions and we walked along admiring the sunset.  Feeling still a bit shell shocked to be here, honestly, but we know that our ups and downs will come and go. Mostly, we're going to have fun.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Fattoush Restaurant
Tr:  Okay.

Beautiful trip to Acre yesterday.  I put the pix on FB.
But today's Sunday, so it's back to work.

This is the week when the routine gets kicked into gear. I thought about writing and I sat at the desk and started jotting down ideas.  This is going to be what I do all year here.  It's a little daunting, but I'm going to keep plugging away and I'm going to be doing a lot of blogging about this plugging away. I'm not the most disciplined person when it comes to this kind of thing. You may remember the dissertation years if you've been reading here for awhile. I'm keeping an open mind.

We shall see said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer, and saw.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Ha Shuk

Tr:  The Market  (I think)

Some Germans called Templers (not Knights of the Templar) moved here in 1868.  They believed that living here might bring about a Jesus Reunion Tour.  That didn't happen, but they did a lot of work constructing their German Colony which is still around today. We visited this area and read about the Templers.  We also walked in a small part of the Baha'i Gardens (shown above). We've got to go back there because most of the gardens weren't open today.  Then we took a hairy scary ride to an outdoor market which is called a Shuk.  We bought pumpkin seeds and pita and grapes. I was sweating driving through the narrow streets packed with cars, honking and taking our lives in their hands.

 We felt we had really been adventurous so then we came back to the guest house and read our books for awhile before heading out to see the indomitable Matt Damon perform his personal best in Elysium.

Movies here are pretty funny.  The gal at the counter said, "7:15 show is V.I.P."
"What's that?" we asked.
"V.I.P.? It's with a nice couches and champagne and cheese. You get some cheese and ice cream and there are only 4 lines."
I right away wanted to know how much V.I.P. cost and come to find out it's about 35$, so we passed and told her we'd see the regular Elysium at 7:40.
"There are 16 lines.  Which line do you want?"
We had no idea what she was saying, so she said, "High? Low?" We opted for middle.  You get a seat assignment.  We got Row 9, seats 12 and 13.  It was a huge theater and I wasn't too happy when 2 people sat right next to me when there were about 400 empty seats in the theater.  But I let that go and enjoyed Matt Damon doing his best, forgetting the rest.

Tomorrow will be our one week anniversary in Israel.  We're getting settled.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Mah Nishmah?

Tr:  What's up?

I'm getting in touch with what it must feel like to be pre-literate. I can neither read nor write Hebrew, so it's hard to function in this place sometimes. Today on my walk there was a Hebrew sign in my path.  I wondered if it was telling me something like "GO BACK! THIS PATH IS CLOSED TODAY!"  I just ventured forth, hoping for the best.

Luckily, there are many signs in English, but I actually thought there would be more.  I'm trying to practice a few letters each day so that I can decipher a few words.  I'd like to know if the shop down the street sells falafels or lampshades.  I showed Koby some of my writing efforts and he said, "Well, you write like a first grader."

I always have scoffed when people say that different fonts are difficult for kids to decode, but now I get it.  Sometimes I try to decipher a sign using my alphabet sheet and I can't find any of the letters on the sheet because of the wonky style in which they're written.

Each night Husbandman and I get out the Hebrew book, but usually we just skip pages laughing in disbelief as we read over the headings, "That's too hard.  There's no way," or "We'll never get to the point where we'll actually know how to use this." Then we work on a NYT crossword puzzle and drink some wine.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Ken, Lo

Tr:  Yes, No.

So I did some whining today.  Spent most of last night wide awake, reading bachelorette tweets.  This jet lag makes me feel like I have Hansen's Disease.  It has to get better, and I have to be patient.  Was sluggacious all day today until around 6.  That's when I start to perk up every day. I get so mad when I start perking up.  This bewilders Husbandman, but it's so annoying that I'm coming around as the sun's going down.  Anyway, 6:00 is the time when Husbandman and I traveled by car through tunnels and windy roads not labeled in english to the beach.  We walked around and then sat down for some foods, (shown above) as we watched the surfers and swimmers frolicking in the sea.  That brought some happiness our way.

P.S.  Teacher Pals of the MCCSC:  Wishing you a marvelous first day tomorrow. And a good night's sleep tonight.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Tov, tada.

Translation:  I'm fine, thanks.

In the past 2 days we've gotten phones, a car, a credit card, a bank account, an office for Husbandman and a parking permit.  So obviously the past 2 days have not been super fun.  The people assisting us have been helpful and kind, as we bumble through awkwardly not understanding. We are trying to decide if we will live in the junior staff apartments or rent an apartment off campus next month.  Apartment = more expensive, but could be nicer.  I want to spend most of my time writing this year.  If I could just get one or two projects done, I'd be v. pleased.  That's why I can't wait for all this jet lag jumble to pass. Our plan is to work during the day, stroll the beach in the evening. A simple, focused life.  We're heading to the beach now for a walk with Koby.  I miss you all.  Very much.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Bag

OMG!  I'm moving out of the country for 10 months.  Starting at this time tomorrow.  I'm in good shape.  A few errands, and some tub cleaning, but it's going to get done!  YEEHA!    I even bought one of these for my trip!  I have to give up my phone, so my texting ends today.  I'll let you know my new phone # when I get to the other side.  I'm going to be instantly deleting any work related emails (as in instantly. Without reading. The split second I see them), so put something FUN in the subject heading if you are emailing me directly.  The excitement is finally here.  Yeeha.

                      .להתראות  .שלום
                                                                                      (Shalom!  See you later!)

Gratitude #9: Power of Song

We've been listening to , singing, and reading about, songs for social change.  Fables of Faubus, Which Side Are You On?, Wavin' ...