Saturday, November 30, 2013

I said Happy Holiday to my daughter and also to my son.

Tr:  Amarti Chag Sameach be ha'bat sheli ve gam be ha'ben shili. (This isn't right.  Don't try this at home).

We had the most splendid Thanksgiving / Hanukah dinner with our fun, funny, awesome friends here.   They are also excellent chefs. The food was emphatically sababa!  We ate under the stars, course after wonderful course.  A night to remember. Viva Khaveroot!  (Viva, Friendship!)

We saw some animals today at Hai Bar Park that are being acclimatized to this beautiful national park called Mt. Carmel.  They are in pens now, but some day they will roam free.  Their progeny may be the ones roaming free, I'm not sure.  The guided tour was in Hebrew, so we walked around by ourselves.  A teeny little kid came up to me as I was checking out the Persian Fallow Deer.  He was talking emphatically and pointing at the Persian Fallow Deer.  I looked at his parents and said, "I wish I spoke Hebrew so I could respond."  The mom rolled her eyes and said, "He is teaching you about the deer."  The dad laughed, "I just taught him about the antlers and he wants to explain this to you."

I said, "He certainly had that explaining look about him."  Husbandman and I talked about how cool it must feel to think that you know something that no one else knows about, that everyone needs to learn.

The boys have antlers, a small child taught me today.

Griffon Vulture


Home again.  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

HaHandTurkeys



Tr:  The Hand Turkeys


Ani thankful bishvil le'kulam, aval ani lo thankful bishvil et ze yamina ohzen. In other words, I'm thankful for everyone, but I'm not thankful for this right ear.

I've had a weird feeling in my right ear.  It feels like it's clogged with water.  Last night the pharmacist gave me some drops. She told me they smell like garlic and come to find out truer words were never spoken. I think my ear might be getting better, but the smell of garlic coming out of my ear is making my right ear kind of a turn off.

We woke up and here it is Thanksgiving. All around the world, people will wake up and start making their hand turkeys. We tried going digital this year, which had its drawbacks.  Seattle kin have selected a brilliant time travel theme.  Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukah, Le'kulam!  (everyone)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yom yafeh, Nakhon?

Tr: a good day, true?
Worked a good bit today and may be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. Worked on my hand turkey tonight and that's a hot mess.  If you're making hand turkeys this year, be sure to post pix. It's important.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Good for you.

Tr:  Kol Hakavod.
Eurasian Teal, I think
Last year when I worked at my job, I talked to Hunterman a lot about hunting while we did car duty or lunch duty together.  I was thinking of him last weekend when I saw so many cool ducks in the Hula Valley.  Hunterman loved to kill ducks.  One time I put a picture of a Teal on my phone and held it up to him.  "How can you kill this guy?  Look how beautiful he is."
Hunterman replied, "Oh, I'll fill the whole back of my truck with 'em."

I guess he really gets a kick out of killing Teals. I admire the fervor, but I also love the teals and wish they could live their lives to their natural ends.

I'm in a rut with the article, people, and that's why today I did not want to work on it at all.  Leonard Woolf hits the nail on the head with this quote, "The grinding of the intellect is for most people as painful as a dentist's drill."  See?  Leonard Woolf totally gets what I'm going through.  Not knowing how to write the next part is a pain in the keester, as my mom used to say.  Maybe she still says that, I'm not sure. She probably does.  Anyway, I decided to put in a little bit of time today because I'm positive that the only way out of this predicament is through spending time thinking about the project, rather than avoiding it with stretching videos and learning more Hebrew slang expressions I'll never use.  So today I decided to put in the teeniest bit of effort.  The word "micron" came to mind as I started to work.   Come to find out, I didn't even really know what a micron is. Googled it and checked out quite a few micron graphics.  It's super small.  So today I'm putting in a micronic sliver of effort, in the spirit of the old adage, "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Check, please.

Tr:  Kheshbon, bevakasha.

Spent Friday riding around the Hula Nature preserve.  Up north. We saw many birds.  I spied a bird I have never seen back home called the bluethroat. The bluethroats are common through Europe and Asia.  Like a lot of birds in the Hula, the bluethroats are moving through as they travel to Africa and India.  I wish them well.
I didn't take this picture.  I really like these bluethroats.
This is our badass birdwatching vehicle.
Hundreds of thousands of noisy cranes.  I saw them with my own eyes.  
Last night was kind of nice because our landpeople brought us down some home made blintzes. I really love our landpeople. Today we spent some fun times with Z and G.  We walked along the rocky/shelly shore of Habonim, mulling stuff over.  Ended the day with a glass of vin blanc over at our beach spot.  
Every time we turn around we find a cool new beach. So far Israel's kind of a one trick pony with the weather.
Sunny, warm, breezy, beautiful. I'm not complaining. Everyone tells us that rains may be abrewin' soon.
 I'll believe it when I see it.

I took 2 shells home, but I lost one of them.

If I go back to Habonim, I'll probably go down into this watery cave.  I mean, why wouldn't I?

Example of beach quarrying.
Back to writing tomorrow.  I hope I can wrestle down this next section.  I've been singing the blues about this section for several days now.  If only I could be like this nutria and just go about my business without worry or care.
Nutria.






Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I have a lot of time.

Tr:  I have a lot of zman.

I'm worried about President Obama, for obvious reasons.  He's going through hell right now.  I would like to invite our Pres over to Israel for a few days for some R and R. If you're reading this, President Obama, we would welcome you ANY TIME into our rented apartment. It will be no trouble at all to take you for a drive down to the sea where we can grab some hummus, some calimari, and maybe a glass of wine or beer. Our treat.  If you just feel like hanging at home, Husbandman can make you a fine grilled cheese sandwich and we can all work together on the crossword puzzle.  We won't talk about h***** c*** or any other topic that's driving you crazy right now.  If you can't come, please know this is an open invitation. We'll be here through April.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ani s'mecha.

Tr:  I'm happy.

Yesterday I got kind of down in the morning for various reasons we won't discuss right now.  I was working on the article, kind of frustrated and bleh, because of the reasons which shall not be discussed.  Then I decided to ditch work and make the Roaming with Rosalyn video.  I worked on that thing for 3 hours and it really perked me up. Making stuff is a good way to avoid low feelings. I need to join the Maker Movement. I wish I were more proficient at making digital stuff though. I feel like a faker, just going the easiest route when I can't understand how to do things the right way.  I've got to increase my digital literacy this year.  Or, I can just be pleased with my present level of competency and remember that I'm doing my best and forgetting the rest.  Today I'm back to my cheerful self.  No hurries, no worries is another great motto I'm reciting each day.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Straight Ahead

Tr: Yashar

I had a little extra time today, so I finally made this movie I've been wanting to make for awhile. If you want to see it, you should.  It's only 92 seconds long so I can't imagine you wouldn't want to take the time to see it.  But maybe you're super busy, I don't know.  The movie's called Roaming with Rosalyn and it features Rosalyn's narration of a visit to a special spot in the Hoosier state.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I said, "I want this feta and also emmentaler, please."

Tr:  Amarti, "Ani rotsa ze feta ve gam emmentaler, bevakasha."

Model of Jerusalem, circa 60.


  
I'm reading the second book in The Artist's Way series, a few pages a day before I get started on the article I'm attempting to write.  Many of the book's tenets don't apply to me since I'm not being an artist, but I want to read it, so I am. Today's chapter described the importance of letting ourselves do what we want to do.  We shouldn't let our projects turn into obligatory grinds.  Author Julia Cameron also writes that we shouldn't try to get better at things.

Easy peasy advice for the upcoming work week.
Don't be lame.  Just stay the same.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I saw the ramparts and I said, "Awesome!"

Tr: Raiti ha ramparts ve amarti "Sababa!"

We are back from a 2 day jaunt to Jerusalem and Gezer.  I have many fun stories about our trip, but I'm going to focus on photojournalism with this entry. I told Husbandman that I wasn't doing a good job with the writing tonight.  He said, "If they can't get it from the pictures, they're not really applying themselves."  So, please give careful attention to the following photojournalism.
Sculpture Garden at the Israel Museum.  This is Robert Indiana's Hebrew version of his LOVE sculpture.  Ahava.

Happily walked along the ramparts of the Old City's walls.  Come to find out, I' m a huge ramparts fan.

After descending from the ramparts, I got lost in the Old City.

I found my way out of the city, headed to our  rented apartment and chatted with Husbandman and best niece in the universe.  Note presence of washer and dryer in the background.

We looked for a taxi to get us to the most fabulous restaurant.  Taxi driver parked at the curb said, "Get in.  I will take you, but we have to wait for my wife.  She is getting cake in this shop.  You know how the cake is important to the women."  His wife didn't look super pleased to see us in the cab when she came out of the shop, but it all worked out.  Once the cab ride was over, we walked around the movie set world of the market and then feasted at Machneyuda.

Church of the Holy Cross, built in the 500's. The wood for Jesus's cross was grown in this valley.  At one sad picture, I commented to Husbandman about how the soldiers mocked Jesus on the cross.
Husbandman answered, "Well, I guess Jesus had the last laugh, didn't he?"
 Thanks to some new friends for taking us to this cool church. 


After lunch with my new friends, we toured their beautiful historic neighborhood.  

Headed to Kibbutz Gezer.  Great Shabbat dinner with College Chum and her kinfolk.  Dinner had an orange theme.  Delicious. Great conversation with the Halper generations.   Next morning we went birding. We saw plovers, cranes, egrets, herons, kingfishers, harriers, sparrowhawks, cormorants and even other birds. 

College Chum knows her birds. 
Softball game at the kibbutz.  Go TEAM GEZER!  (We won by a million).

Cheering from the sidelines, kibbutz style.
After a lovely lunch, we headed home.  As you can clearly see, we accomplished a lot and made every second count.
Now we're heading to the movies.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

There's a good book store, so I want to buy a book and also a map.

Tr:  Yesh khanut sfarim tov, az ani rotsa to buy sefer ve gam map.
We have a book about Jerusalem but we want another one because we're heading there tomorrow and we don't really care for our book. We are doing the vacation rental by owner thing, for the first time ever.  So excited. Husbandman's going to talk at a university, and my plan is to walk along the ramparts in the old city.  I've been to Jerusalem twice and both times I've wanted to walk along the ramparts, but I haven't gotten the job done.  Nothing's getting in my way tomorrow people.  I hope. When I was a kid, I thought the national anthem said, "Oh the ramparts we washed..." so I thought ramparts were some type of fabric.  Glad that's been straightened up. Ramparts rock. We also get to see our fabulous niece.  It will all be na'im me'od.  Very pleasant.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bad for me?

Tr:  Rah Bishvili?

Coffee shop in the afternoon today.  Love that place.  When I sat down the young woman server asked me, "Big coffee?"
"Ken!" I answered.  (Tr:  Yes).
After an amount of time, I asked for another big coffee.  When she brought me the second coffee she said, "You love coffee."
"Ken! I really do," I told her.
"It's very bad for you," she said sadly, shaking her head.  It seemed a weird thing for someone who works at a coffee shop to say, so I just kind of murmured, "Oh. Well.  Ken."
After a bit of time, she brought me a complimentary piece of cake.  One could argue that a piece of cake isn't really good for me, but I didn't feel like arguing that point at that moment in time.  I just thanked her heartily in Hebrew and continued enjoying one of the most pleasant Mondays I can ever recall.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Katavti hayom.

Tr: I wrote today.
It's all very good learning to say sentences in Hebrew, but it doesn't really help much with the understanding when others speak their sentences.  Case in point.  Yesterday when we went to Ein Afek, the guard at the gate spoke to us and we could not understand him.  I offered my standard apology about only speaking english.  So the guy spoke in english, but I still couldn't understand and let me tell you...that is super embarrassing.  Finally, the third time he spoke, he held his hand on his gun and said slowly, "Do you have a weapon?"  I burst out laughing, "No!  Oh gosh no!  We have no weapons.  Weapons?  That's so funny." He didn't find my hilarity amusing and gestured us to move on into the park.  

On another fascinating topic, I feel like I'm in a little bit of a roll with the article writing. Feeling cheerful about this.  

Saturday, November 09, 2013

I understand what you say.

Tr: Ani Mevina what you say.

Great White Pelicans, stopping over on their way to Africa.
Enough Said.  This is the movie we saw yesterday.  It's a wonderful movie and if you feel like seeing it, go ahead and see it.  There are characters in this movie who have children who are going away to college. Most of the time I laughed and enjoyed this movie, but I cried once because a kid leaving home can make me remember some tough times. Whenever I see a movie with this theme, I'm a little startled that other people go through this conundrum, this very conundrum of which I tend to think I was the sole inventor and owner. Going away this year has helped me to get over the empty nest hump.  So my suggestion is that parents should go away at the same time as kids. I have no idea why no one has thought about this before. It's so obvious.

Anyway, the movie is quite good but another sad thing about it is that James Gandolfini is lovely in it, and of course he died soon after making this movie, so it feels sad to watch his performance.  I miss James Gandolfini.

Today we went to a place called Ein Afek.  It's a nature reserve.  We saw these Great White Pelicans. They were very far away, but the zoom on my camera is pretty good.  Ein Afek is a bite sized place and many people brought their small noisy kiddos there.  We packed sandwiches and had a little picnic.  There was a nice vibe to the place.  I wish we hadn't forgotten our binoculars in Indiana.  Luckily, #1 son is coming for a visit in about a month and 10 days so he can bring the binoculars to us.

Our view as we had our picnic.  Quite a few fish swimming in here.  And we think we saw a turtle.

Friday, November 08, 2013

I see one bird.

Tr:  Ani Roa Bird Echad.

I've recently identified this fine looking bird on a walk in our neighborhood. It has the name of great tit.

When we were in Istanbul, I saw one right outside our window.  I told Husbandman, who was reading his computer screen.  "I see a great tit out here."
Husbandman didn't look up.  "Just one?"
"Yes."
Husbandman kept reading and said, "I'm not interested."

Not sure why I'm sharing this silly story, but it was on my mind this morning.  Probably because Husbandman is in the kitchen muttering to the kitchen tools that aren't working. I hear him saying, "C'mon hot plate.  C'mon frying pan.  You were born to do this job.  Let's get focused here."

Speaking of getting focused, I've gotta start moving.  One thing I've learned this year is that the more time you have, the more time you can waste with frittering and frippery.  Come to find out, I truly enjoy frittering and frippery, so it's working out great.




Thursday, November 07, 2013

For me, large latte and also cake please.

Tr:  Bishvili, latte gadol ve gam uga, bevakasha

Happy Republic Day, Turkey.  I arranged this boat show for you.
We're speaking in sentences peeps.  That's kind of an exaggeration, but we are trying to speak in sentences. Actually, we're practicing sentences alone in our apartment, but not yet speaking them when others are near. Still, huge step up.  You can go far with "thank you" as your primary vocabulary, but it's time to pump up the volume.  Our host country has been patient and helpful, but I'm ready to start throwing around some random Heblish expressions, to prove that we're not total slackers.  I've been texting Achyanit Yafeh (wonderful niece) who lives in Jerusalem and she's been extremely encouraging. I'm feeling pretty darned sababa right now my friends.
Your Body, My Body by Anish Kapoor.  Cruddy Picture, but I loved this .

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Ma Shlome

Tr:  How are you (f)?

Trying to pump up my Heblish a bit.  In Greece and Turkey I was horrible with the languages.  It's funny to have conversations with someone where we're both speaking different languages, but somehow we get stuff done that needs to get done. Wild gesturing and plaintive facial expressions seem to help.  Still, I wish I had done better.  People appreciate it a lot when you throw out one of their words every once in awhile.

Today I declared an international holiday called "Read All Day Because You Need to Recover from Your Busy Bustling Week in Istanbul Day."  I declared it on twitter and I've heard several people are celebrating along with me.  Which is pretty awesome.

Today on the international holiday I read an interview with Toni Morrison.  That woman is remarkable.  I'm low motivation right now because Istanbul put me in the headlock and wrestled me down to the mat.  I'm also reading 4 books right now because I lack attention span.  I read a few pages of one and then move to the next one.  Usually when I do this, one of the books grabs me at some point and then I'm in like Flynn to the bitter end.  That hasn't happened yet though. They're all good books, but nothing's grabbing me and sending me into the vortex.  Because of the international holiday, I made some good reading progress and have decided it's okay not to be wowed all the time.  Just muggling along, doing my best, forgetting the rest.  Tomorrow my goal is to be more like Toni Morrison.  So I'll probably call it, "Act Like Toni Morrison and Actually Get Stuff Done Day."

Monday, November 04, 2013

Yom Tov

Tr:  Good Day.

This was the day of travel.  Woke up in Istanbul.  Heading to bed in Haifa. As my grandmother used to say, "How modern are we getting?"

I have a plane etiquette complaint.  Husbandman and I had aisle seats.  Next to me were 2 people around my age.  They were making out almost the entire flight.  I mean, come on.  This isn't an age-ist observation.  I would be annoyed if they were 15 or 55 or 105.  I found the smoochathon to be a distraction which resulted in my inability to concentrate on my book or my iPad word game. I kept trying to figure out why these people were making out so much.  I almost asked them to share their story with me when they came up for air for a quick lunch, but I didn't want to seem to be encouraging them.

Other than the making out and the v. long passport control lines, the trip went speedily. Our passport control officer looked at my passport and said, "You are from Boston?"
      I said, "Yes, I was born there, but now I live in Indiana."
     "Indiana!  The REAL America!" he gleefully exclaimed.  The guy obviously knows his stuff.   What a pleasant compliment for our Hoosier state. We don't always get credit where our credit is due.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Istanbul, Day 8 Continued

Ready for some packing.  Tomorrow we head back to Haifa.  Istanbul's been very fun indeed.  Today we were at the archaeological museums.  There have been people living in Istanbul for 1000s of years and we learned about the stuff they made and did.  Wild, child.  Well done, people of Istanbul.

I'm happy to report that none of the stuff I worried about 8 days ago actually happened while I was in Istanbul.  I'm going to take this as a life lesson and try to live a more confident and care free life.  (Still, you don't ever want to let down all your defenses, I'm sure you'll agree).  But for now, I'm aiming to be more chill. I liked reading about the inscriptions that certain kings left carved around town at the museum today.  Stuff like, "I King X, the mightiest king, the greatest king in the universe, to me the gods have given strength over all, I have done great things in this city." Then they would list things they did.  Lengthening roads.  Building new walls. I admire the confidence.  (Don't want to overdo it, though).

Istanbul, Day 8.

Last day in Istanbul.  Heading to an archaeological museum with 1 million objects.  I heard that they have so many artifacts that each visitor gets to pick one to take home.  I'm going to ask for a Byzantine bowl of some sort.

Went bike riding on Buyukada Island yesterday.  Horses meandered through twisty pine forests. Kind of neat to see them as we sped by on our breezy bikes.  I heard that each visitor gets to keep a baby horse.  Our horse will be sent back to Bloomington, fed ex. Probably most of you will see it again before I do.  Give it a little pat for me, lutfen.  (Lutfen means please).

Happiest Birthday to 20 Something.  She's really growing up.  I heard she's going to meet us at the airport in Haifa tomorrow and spend some time celebrating her birthday in Israel.  We'll share a halloumi salad down by the beach.  Can't wait to see her.

Wishful thinking on our final day in Turkey.


Saturday, November 02, 2013

Istanbul, Day 7

It's time to kick it into high gear today because we're heading for an island.  There are no motorized vehicles allowed on this island.  That's going to be pleasant.  I had a slight case of crowdaphobia yesterday, which involved a car almost killing me.  No big deal, I lived to tell the tale.

Before I got the crowdaphobia, we went in 2 modern art museums.  Loved them both.  I have 2 new fave fascinating artists:  Erol Akyavas and Gulsun Karamustafa.  I also ate a kumpir for lunch, which hit the spot.  It's a potato.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Istanbul Day 6

Market street between the 2 bazaars.
 I'm a little bit wistful about missing Halloween.  I've got to pull that together and live in the moment.  I've got to do whatever it takes to get over my wistfulness about Halloween and not make excuses when I think about the costumes and the pumpkins and the candies.  I have been reading some education stuff lately and I keep reading No excuses.  Whatever it takes.  No excuses.  Going to try to incorporate that lameness into my blog post today.

Day 6 hasn't officially begun yet as we are still in jammies and drinking coffee. Going to do whatever it takes to get dressed and out the door.  No excuses.

But before I gear up to go, I must let everyone know that if you enjoy watching cats roaming free, you should come to Istanbul.  There are cats everywhere.  Every morning when we walk to the bus, we do a campus cat count.  Our highest count was 37 cats.  There's a trend in the data though because with each successive day, we've counted fewer cats. Yesterday, only 10 cats. So why is the data showing a negative trend? How can we get the cats to increase, rather than decrease?  We need these scores to go UP, people.  No excuses. We must do whatever it takes.
On the Bosphorus Tour.  Castle, Cafes.



I'm obsessed with that hedgehog from last night.  I don't think it was a long eared hedgehog, though the long ears  do live in Turkey.  It was some subspecies of middle eastern hedgehog, but I'm not sure which YET.  I'll keep working on the ID. I'll do whatever it takes.  No excuses.  That hedgehog will be known as no other has been known prior to this moment.




I'm not sure what's up today.  But I'm going to make the most of my day, doing whatever it takes and not making any excuses.  It's probably going to be a museum or two, a walk of some variety, and some tea.
Aya Sofia. 

Aya Sofia