Monday, September 30, 2013


Tr:  Stop

The holidays are over and it's back to work for the entire country.  We are back in our Abba Khoushy apartment and this is where we will stay til the end of April.  Today was a big day for me.  I walked to a little cafe and ordered lunch.  They had no english menu and the waitress knew very little english.  I was nervous, until I saw a picture of a cheese sandwich on a little display stand on the table.  I pointed to it and ended up having a great sandwich which came with a tasty salad, and was followed up with a piece of very delicious cake.  Not an inexpensive lunch, as lunches go, I'm sorry to say, but I felt proud of myself for venturing into unchartered waters. The solo lunch, at a new restaurant.  In a word, remarkable.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Yesh Laxem....????

Photo Credit:  Koby R.
Tr:  Do you have....?

Haifa Film Festival is over.  We saw 7 films this week.  I'm thinking of flying back to Haifa every year for the film festival.  I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Tr: Bone

Husbandman and I saw the BEST MOVIE EVER today.  It's called Disconnect.  I sincerely suggest you probably want to see that movie.

I was so inspired by this film that I made a new web page about bone marrow.  Check it out!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mapal Mayim

Tr:  Waterfall

Koby took us to the Jiloban area of the Golan Heights for a hike to see 2 waterfalls. We also saw the ruins of a Jewish village built during the Talmudic period, which I think is between 200 and 500 AD.  Later this village became an Arab village.  Then later, Bedouins lived here.

We started our day with coffee on the trail.  Hiked to the village and then to the falls.  Then we went to Mt. Bentel to learn more about the Yom Kippur War and enjoy some stunning views.  We ended our day with dinner and coffee in a delicious Arab restaurant.  Thanks, Koby!

I brought my slides:

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Tr:  Great, Cool, Awesome

All has been totally sababa the last 2 days.  Teamed up with this cool pal from Berkeley days of yore.  Roxanne has lived on a kibbutz for 30 years.  She knows a lot of info and she knows a lot of people.  It was a gift to walk around Ramla and Gezer with her this week.  Seeing stuff, talking, singing songs.
First, we cruised all over the cool town of Ramla. The town was built in the 700's by the Arabs.  The Ottomans were there for awhile. Full disclosure here:  I'm reading so much history at these places, I'm taking in about 16 - 22 % of it.  Loving it all, but not feeling like I'm ready to take my place as tour guide of the year here any time in the near future.  
Ramla has an awesome SHUK.

White Tower, built in the 1300's.  One of the many great things about being with Roxanne is that a lot of these sites are a little confusing to access.  Roxanne got the job done, where Husbandman and I would have just walked away, dispirited, feeling like losers. THANKS for showing us everything, Roxanne!  We also went to an artist's house/studio.  We also ate lunch in a very wonderful restaurant. RH knew all these people.  She basically knows everybody.  Friendly, fun and SABABA as all get out,  just as Husbandman and I remembered her in days of yore.  
Pool of Arches.  Underground water cistern.  Built in the 700's.  We rowed a little boat around in here. So fun. Sababa.

This is a Franciscan church, built near the site where Joseph of Arimethea lived.  He was the one who went to Pilate and asked to take Jesus's body off the cross for burial and he donated his own tomb.  This church has a Titian painting up over the altar.  Also, Napoleon stayed around the corner in a second floor room for awhile. He allegedly was angered by the Muslim early morning call to prayer and so shot the muezzin.
Lo Beseder, Napoleon.  (Tr:  Not Okay, Napoleon).

After hitting Ramla sites HARD, we headed over to the wonderful kibbutz Gezer.  We walked around the kibbutz, learned about changes that have happened there over the past 30 years, saw a barn owl sleeping in an evergreen tree, joined some of Roxanne's pals in a sukkah for a sing along, (personal fave: I'm a Believer, by Neil Diamond) and had a lovely dinner with more talking into the night.  This was a day for the record books.  What Roxanne doesn't know, but I'm sure all of you undoubtedly recall, is this:  I've been waiting my whole life to see an owl in the wild.  Seeing the sleeping barn owl of Gezer filled me with intense joy.  We will see Roxanne again.  Thanks to the glory of Facebook, we are reunited.  Sababa all around. 

This is not the barn owl I saw.  I borrowed this picture from the internets.

Monday, September 23, 2013


We're in the midst of Sukkot this week.  It's a harvest festival and one of the HIGH HOLY DAYS here in Israel.  During Sukkot, we moved from our regular apartment into our pal Koby's apartment.  We enjoy this neighborhood a lot.  We have walked around this week, checking out the sukkahs.  Yesterday we headed to Jerusalem to visit our fantabulous niece. LOTS of people were there celebrating Sukkot.  We walked through Sacher Park, ate lunch at a phenomenal restaurant next to Mahane Yehuda market where the ingredients are harvested from the market each day.  We saw the Fauve Exhibit and the King Herod exhibit at the Israel Museum.  Then we headed back home.  I was disappointed that I didn't get to walk on the ramparts in the Old City, but I'll do that next time.  I'm dying to walk on those ramparts.

Traffic in Jerusalem was really tough stuff.  Husbandman and I traded personalities when I FREAKED OUT in the middle of a huge traffic jam. We were trying to get out of the city and we were being emotionally crushed by cars, blocked off streets, and hordes of humanity. I began pulling out my hair, but  Husbandman told me, "Let's remember we had a great day.  We'll get through this traffic.  We just have to be patient."  It was like a Vulcan Mind Meld kind of thing.  The likes of which I've never before seen. At any rate, I made a little slide show of our day.  The slide show blurs the pix a bit, so I'm not too happy about that.  To tell you the truth.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Tr:  Problem (I think)
You know how some people say we have a deer problem in Bloomington? Come to find out, (and no one opted to mention this), we have a WILD BOAR problem in Haifa.

We were walking back to our car after a mediocre movie called The Congress (See it if you want to) and we were both standing near the driver's side door when Husbandman pointed to the other side of the car and said, "Is that a wild boar?  That's a wild boar!"  I looked up and decided Husbandman was correct.  A wild boar was standing on the other side of our car.  I hopped in the back seat and Husbandman hopped in to drive.  We barely escaped with our lives.  On the way home I googled the query, "Are there wild boars in Haifa?"  There are.  They're roaming the streets at night.  

Friday, September 20, 2013


Tr:  Film

Haifa hosts an international film festival every year.  We've got tickets to about 8 movies.  I kind of wish we would get more tickets.  I think I could watch movies all day long.  Tonight we're seeing 2.

Cue the dance music.  I'm happy about the film festival!

Fade out dance music.  Dim lights.  It's time to start writing.  It's always kind of unpleasant to start the writing each day. That's usually why I spend some time blogging first.  Priming the pump in the comfort zone, so to speak.

If you read this today which is Friday and you live in Bloomington, you might want to hear #1 Son play music at Malibu and then at Serendipity.  A fun Friday evening.  I wish I could be there, but I have to go to the film festival.

I wish Husbandman would offer to go out to pick up some lattes, but so far he's just working at his computer and it doesn't look like he's even thinking about getting me a latte.  Really nice.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Tr:  Jellyfish

Had a run in with the famous Meduzot of the Mediterranean yesterday evening.  I'm trying to learn new technology so I made a Haiku Deck presentation about it.  Not my best work, I'm not going to lie.  But I love Haiku Deck.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Tr:  Alligator

Tonight begins Sukkot.  I haven't done too much reading about this holiday, but I know that some people build these outdoor structures called sukkahs and they eat in them and some times sleep in them.  There are 3 sukkahs built right below Koby's apartment window. (We're staying at Koby's place for a bit). The sukkahs look pretty neat.  I wish I could have a sleepover in a sukkah this week.
Husbandman's working at home today.  Acting all focused and efficient.  Showing off that he's better at working than I am. Staring at the computer at his actual work, not talking.  Making progress. Throwing  my work problems back in my face.  I'm getting really annoyed with him and his arrogant, holier than me attitudes.

Monday, September 16, 2013


I learned about Skitch today.

Shmi Lee

Tr:  My name is Lee.

Yesterday I drove in Israel for the first time. I've been kind of wimpy about a lot of things over here. Husbandman drives the car, he asks the questions, he gets the tough stuff done.  Instead of feeling badly about myself for being wimpy and weird, I instead focus on feeling lucky that I have Husbandman.

Today I'm working on a letter to an editor.  It's a difficult letter to write. Just pointing out that, come to find out, I have my own tough stuff to get done.  Sitting here in this Haifa garden with a cup of tea and a lovely cool breeze, I will struggle with the letter by hook or by crook.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Tr:  Bike

We've been watching a lot of Breaking Bad and we're almost done with Season 2. This show can bring you down what with the killing and the bad attitudes and that's why I rented the light and pleasant "All You Need Is Love" last night, starring PIERCE BROSNAN!  Husbandman was not thrilled with my choice, but when I pointed out that Breaking Bad was freaking me out too much, he understood.

Today is Yom Kippur.  I'm not fasting, but I'm also not driving. In other words, I'm not joining in, but I'm respecting the day and what it means to my wonderful host country.  It should also be noted that I did write in my notebook about some atoning I felt was in order.  Soon I'll take a walk around the neighborhood.  I've heard that many secular people like to ride bikes on the empty streets on this day, and that's something I'd like to see.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Tr:  City

Stone of Unction

Took our weekend field trip on Wednesday this week, since we'll be staying put for Yom Kippur this upcoming Saturday.  Headed to Jerusalem.  We walked around the old city in the morning.   The history is mind-blowing.  There are Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Armenian quarters.  People were crying at several religious sites.  King David's Tomb, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  The stone of Unction is where the women cleaned up Jesus's body after he was taken down from the cross. We only saw about 1/10 of what was in the old city. I wanted to walk on the ramparts, but we were getting hungry for lunch so I didn't.  We have a plan to go back many times this year.

 Then we went to a market area called Mahane Yehuda.  It was really beautiful and we had a lovely lunch there.  Saw rice cakes being made.  We then took a long walk.  We walked through an Orthodox neighborhood called Mea Shearim, one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.  There were signs saying not to go in the neighborhood without long sleeves, but I did.  One woman talked to me about it, but she seemed nice.  I couldn't really understand what she was saying, but she was touching my arm, so I used my inferential reasoning skills.  After that, we walked quickly through.  I felt badly that I hadn't respected their rules, but I really wanted to see the neighborhood.  Sorry, Mea Shearim! My bad.

A great day.  Here are a few not great pix. I only had the iPhone and the place is kind of overwhelming so it was hard to stop and get focused. Mostly I just trudged along, goggling in awe.

Holy Sepulcher

Bread for Sale

Western Wall

Walls of the Old City

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Monday, September 09, 2013


Tr:  Sea

Last night we went for a night swim in the Mediterranean after sunset.  A sliver moon hung out over the horizon.  On shore, the lights of the promenade restaurants glittered.  Fist of 5?  Solid 5.

There's a tiny lizard basking out here in this little garden writing spot.  He's sweet.  I wonder if the stray cats eat these lizards?

Someone is using a power drill someplace close by.  Not pleasant at all.

Let's see if I can get something done today.  I'm on a new writing schedule, which I've already messed up due to sleeping in a little late.  It was worth it though to skype with 20 something at 6am.  She is doing wonderfully well.  #1 Son will be seen on skype soon. Probably this very day.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Falafel Hazkenim

Tr:  The Old People Falafel

This weekend was all about doing
 recon and collecting intel.
We looked for a laundromat.  We found none.
 It's laundry in the sink time for all of us here
on Abba Khoushy Road.
We looked for Hazkenim, a falafel place
we heard was awesome,
but we found it not.
We won't be denied, though.
It will be found.  The falafels will be ours.

We walked on the beach, strolled through the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, saw 2 Guns at the Cinemall and walked around the cool old part of town doing recon, collecting intel, as has already been stated.  A fine weekend but now it's time to get back in the saddle and get some work done.
For me and for you, העניינים, which might mean:  blessing and success in all matters.  

Friday, September 06, 2013

Ma Ze?

Tr:  What's this?

Not doing well with my writing project today.  I'm discouraged, frankly.  Thus, the blogging instead of the writing.

It's weird when people ask me what I'm doing here.  First they find out about Peter and then they say, "And what are you doing Lee?"

I say some variation of "I'm trying to write a book based on my dissertation." People don't usually say more after that.  They just look at me blankly. Then I start wondering what they're thinking.  Even Husbandman's noticed the odd reactions.  We talked about other things I could say, but I'm basically describing exactly what I'm doing, so why should I say something different?  Today I'm feeling awful about my lack of progress, which is getting on my nerves because these are the freaking days of AWE.  

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Shana Tova

Tr:  A good year.

Rosh Hashanah began last evening and stretches out til tomorrow evening.  It's a huge deal here.  People are with family.  They cook like maniacs.  There's a feeling of revelry.  We spent the evening with Koby and Judy and their kin.  We had an extremely fun night.  Today I'm kind of exhausted from the lateness, and the crazy eating.  Also, the dancing.
Today we found out that we can stay in this apartment for the rest of our year, except for a 2 week stint in late September.  So all is swell.
Our landlords just came by.  They're on their way to more fun new year stuff.  I told them about our night last night.  Landwoman said, "You didn't cook nothing?"  (She really doesn't know me that well yet.)
Before she left she said, "Have a good year.  A happy year.  That's the important thing."
I'm working on happiness, like it's my job.  I learned today from the internets that Rosh Hashanah begins the DAYS OF AWE that end with Yom Kippur.  I'm going to be living these days of awe as awesomely as awesome can be.   And that's going to be so, so awesome.

Monday, September 02, 2013


Tr: Holiday

There are a lot of holidays coming up this month:  Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot.  Koby advised us to take a trip during this time because lots of things shut down during the holidays.  We couldn't handle making the plans, honestly. Going somewhere else seems like too much work at this stage of the game. So, we're going to have to be creative about how we spend our time.  This shouldn't be too hard.  We started watching Season 1 of Breaking Bad and we have 4 seasons to watch.  I will also need to view Pronto's new fist bump technique video several hundred more times, until I get the hang of it.  We've got some books to read and we both have work we want to get done.  I've decided to give myself deadlines. I'm having writing anxiety today.  I think it's because of not knowing what to do about the holidays and our new apartment has kind of a weird cleaning supply kind of smell that I find worrisome.  Time to plunge in, peeps.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 01, 2013


Tr:  Water

We are moved into a new place, which is very nice.  It's in the bottom part of a home owned by Koby's friends.  It has several rooms and a lovely garden.  It even has a bomb shelter which the owner tells us they've never used.  He hopes we won't have to use it while we are here.  "We're optimistic," he told us.  At least we know it's there, if we should ever need it.

The weekend was low key.  V. pleasant.  Friday we ventured downtown to do some shopping.  In the evening we went to dinner with some MathMen.  The table was covered with small plates of food.  All delicious.  The Mathmen also ate a lamb's shoulder.

On Saturday we drove to Zichron Ya'akov.
The town has a historic center with cool shops, galleries and restaurants. It was founded in 1882 and became a place of wine making sponsored by Edmond James de Rothschild.  We walked about, but I wish we had visited the museum.  We will do that next time.  It was bloody hot.  After our historic walk, we drove back to the Aqueduct Beach in Caesarea, where we swam and reveled.  Later we headed out to a French movie called "What If We All Lived Together?"  Review to follow.  A friendly Mathman joined us and it was a cheery night.

Moving out of the Technion guest house was a little sad.  Yesterday was our 4 week anniversary here and I grew accustomed to living in one room. I knew where everything was.  Still our new place feels homey and comfortable.  We have some snags about living here all year that we have to work out.  If we have to move again, it won't be a big deal. We'll not only survive, we will thrive.

The Crawfish

A few crawfish are coming to live in Room 200.  Not sure what to do about that.  They've donated their lives for science education.  I...