Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Good Year???

Shana Tova???

I'm in the future, so I'm heading into 2014 ahead of you.  Cover me.  I'll keep my eyes peeled. Once I find out what it's like, I'll come back and fill you in.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Just a moment

Tr:  Rak regah.

It's the penultimate day of the year.  Get ready for some big time reflecting and resoluting over the next two days.  For today, just carry on as usual.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Yom Rishon

Tr:  Sunday
It's time for the Monday Writing Report.  (I'm writing it on Sunday because I thought today was Monday, but it's not). The long and the short of TMWR is this.  I haven't written much because of our fanciful trip.  Yesterday I poked the writing around a little bit and today I'm committed to getting back in the game.  The article is still too long, but it's getting closer.  I sent it off to Judith to have a read through while she's on her vacation.  Husbandman will also be forced to read it this week.  Deadline is January 15.  Getting there.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I'm wearing clothes.

Tr:  Ani loveshet begadim.

#1 son is on an airplane heading stateside.  Boo!  I don't like that!  I've decided to be immature about it. So much of being alive seems to be about acting maturely.  Well, frankly I'm sick of it.  I'll do whatever I feel like doing.

Friday, December 27, 2013


Tr:  Today.  Have been slacking on my Heblish as you can see from my titles.  I'll have more time soon.

Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  #1 Son enjoyed it and termed it "fun."  His favorite part was the skateboarding scene, which he termed "kind of funny."  He would recommend it "to some, but not others."
Husbandman thought it was "fine." He liked the cinematography in certain parts, but thought the movie was a "huge effort, for a thin, trifling story."  He ended his searing review with,"I guess it wasn't my image of Walter Mitty."
To which #1 Son replied, "What do you think Walter Mitty's image of YOU is, Dad?"

Our fists of 5:  2.5, 3, 4.5   I liked it quite a bit.  If you want to see it, you should. Make up your own minds and get back to us on this.  It's a very pleasant movie and I'd like it to be a big hit for my second cousin, Ben Stiller.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Darling

Tr:  Yekiri

Yellow Cube Fish

We went to an aquarium today in Eilat.  The weather wasn't supportive of beach time, which made me a little ticked off at Eilat, but our trip has surpassed all expectations, so I'm going to give Eilat a pass this time.

We saw some sea turtles at the aquarium.  They have a program of raising baby sea turtles and they've released over 200 sea turtles into the sea.  They wait til the babies are fairly big and their shells are in good shape, which takes a few years, but sea turtles live to be 100 to 120 years old, so it's okay for them to hang out at the aquarium for awhile. They sacrifice their infancy for a long cheerful life.

We will be releasing #1 Son back into his life tomorrow night.  We certainly are going to miss him, but like the sea turtles, he belongs out in the yonder.  I hope I don't cry too much.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Beautiful Rock

Tr:  Selah yafeh
Happy Christmas Friendies.  What a trip we're having with #1 Son.  Yesterday we went to the Masada.  The Masada story is a sad, emotional story, and the ruins are incredible.   I am proud that I walked up the Snake Path to the top of the Masada. I wish I could be an archaeological photographer.  Turns out I have a passionate penchant for ruins.  Then we headed to the Dead Sea where we bobbed about and floated floppily in the clear chilly water.  Today was Timna Day.  We hiked around this beautiful national park that is the site of a copper mine from about 1700 BC. Phenomenal site.  #1 Son pushed my anxiety levels by climbing up on rocks hither, thither and yon, but we all lived to tell the tale.  Now we're in Eilat. We're on the Red Sea, wedged in between Egypt and Jordan.  Tomorrow, who knows what will happen??? 

I hope Santa was good to all of you.  In my book, you deserve the very best on this day and every day. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I'm here only today

Tr:  Ani po rak hayom.
Akko Port

Western Wall

Yesterday in Jerusalem was fabulous.  We walked all over the old city and then we had dinner with wonderful niece at our fave restaurant. We're staying at a vacation rental home.  Today a guy knocked on the door and was speaking Hebrew to us and we could not understand him.  Then he pulled out a dagger that looked like it belonged to a medieval Crusader.  I was a little nervous, but then he pointed to a tree in the yard.  We tried to make it clear that this wasn't our home, but mostly we couldn't communicate well at all.  Finally we just closed the door.  Today we're moving south to the Masada and the Dead Sea.  

Via Dolorosa.  This is station 6, where Veronica wiped the face of Jesus as he carried his cross.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Tr:  Ohzen

Koby has helped us yet again, making a doctor's appt. for me.  I have had some ear problems and they're not going away.  Sometimes I just don't know if a situation merits a doctor's visit.  I wish our bodies had meters that indicated when to go to the doctor and when to just tough it out.  The ear doesn't hurt that badly, but it's been causing me some worries for a month now.  Israelis are hardy people so I'm nervous the doctor will look in my ear and say something like, "What?  For this, you come to the doctor? This is nothing!"  Seriously, that could happen.  But I'm going to the doctor anyway and I'm v. grateful to Koby for helping us.  I hope I don't (mis)represent my home country as the Land of the Wimpazoids. After I see the doctor, I can put this ear thing behind me and move on with my life, one way or the other.  The appointment will not take up too much of #1 Son's vacation time.  He's napping right now, so all is well.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Two Waters, Please

Tr:  Two waters, please.

A wonderful letter I received today.
#1 Son is here.  Today we ventured around Caesarea, checking out the ruins of yore.  #1 Son and Husbandman agreed with me halfheartedly that it would be super important to watch the informational film about Caesarea while we were there, so learning was had.  We went to an eatery down by the beach and had a quite pleasant lunch.  Then we walked around the historic wadi neighborhood.  Then we saw the Hobbit movie. After that we watched the Sexy Saxophone Player video. A full day.  Don't know how we'll top this tomorrow, but we're going to give it a try.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Tr:  You say this when someone has something big happen, like a big test, or a big event and then you want to hear about it.  It's kind of like, "So?"  but should be used for significant events

Today I had a near heart attack because we weren't sure for about a minute if #1 Son was going to make his plane.  It all got worked out and he's on his way to Israel, our beautiful host country.  We'll pick him up tomorrow around 3 pm.  For only about 2 minutes I was having my heart attack. I'm embarrassed to report that I even started crying for 20 seconds.  Then it all worked out.  My short and sudden heart attack made me think about my parents having 7 kids.  How on earth could they manage  the sudden heart attacks appearing and disappearing at a moment's whim? Honestly, I find it remarkable to think about my parents with seven children around and about, falling out of trees, jumping into quarried canals, smashing up cars, hitchhiking to different states, getting darts shot into their necks, losing their  new school shoes (that was me), putting dog chains around their little brother's neck and pretending he was a pet dolphin in the swimming pool which resulted in near drowning (that was me as well), climbing out our window at 2am to ride our bikes around in the local park with the riffraff of the neighborhood (me again, but in fairness Big Sister did take the lead there) and playing our version of King of the Hill out in the woods, which involved throwing large rocks at people's heads as they tried to ascend to King position (All Big Sister, I watched from the sidelines).

And we had that crazy dog Henry who was nothing but a hooligan.

How'd you make it through parents?  I bow down to you both and bestow high honors upon you.  You kept us alive and you kept yourselves relatively sane.  KUDOS, PARENTS!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Water and Sky

Tr:  Maim ve Shmaim

This day, this very day, we are watching Nicholas Nickelby.   I'm borrowing freely from the words of Mr. Charles Dickens as I write this post.

There are 2 things I dearly miss about the Yule tide season and merely two things. Let us reflect for a moment on each.  Firstly there is the matter of the tree. I shall tell you it is my partiality to the evergreen tree I openly avow to one and all.

Verily, the absence of the yuletide cookies brings me some pain of mind as well.  To only imagine their existence, to think they're being eaten by others, who are not me, pains me grievously.  

Other than that I am content about missing Christmas.  As good friend Nance shared in a recent missive, "It has been Christmas since August for you, my friend."

Correct as usual Nance.   This gift is not to be expected, but to be delighted in, all the same.

Monday, December 16, 2013

I write, you write.

Tr:  Ani kotevet, At kotevet.

Time for some holiday cheer!
Bad news my friends.  I started the work day with a freak out, worrying about my writing project to the point of total meltdown. But the good news is that I pulled it together and worked hard all day.  The other bad news is I still didn't finish with the 2 last sections that I'm TRYING TO FINISH!!!!  And the last good news is I just relaxed in the end and now I'm living my life as best I can.

I actually considered finding an online writing group to spur me on, but when I tumblr'd "writing groups" yesterday, I read so many tumblr peeps complaining about how stupid their writing groups are, that I just decided to stick with you all here on leeway.  So, writing group, I'll be sharing my writing progress with you each Monday, and I'm very sure that's something you all can really look forward to.

I put in a lot of hours today and tomorrow I'm going to try it again.  Hopefully tomorrow I can start work without the tears and the hair pulling. As you probably know, I have to get to the point of absolute annoyance with myself before things seem to fall into place. It's important to trust the process.

Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I love this blue sky.

Tr:  Ani ohevet et ze ha'shamaim adom.  (Not sure I have this right).
This is my science fiction one sentence story I wrote today:  

Hollis loved everything about living in this new age, where she could put on her programmable jacket each morning and the electromagnetic field would guide her effortlessly to her cubicle.  

This story was inspired by an NPR story I heard a few days ago about a scientist who learned how to put little jackets on sperms so they could be guided via electromagnetic field to the eggs.  They lose some motility with the jackets, but they do get there.  So far the jackets have worked well on bull sperm, but we're not sure about human sperm yet.  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Yesh khatool.

Tr:  There's a cat.
Today I saw Thor.  Husbandman didn't want to go, so I went solo.  Thor passes the Bechdel test.  That's a fairly minimum standard for movies, but still it's a rare treat to see a movie that has some women characters who have names and talk to each other about stuff other than men. The women in Thor talked about Thor some of the time, but mostly they talked about their scientific work. I liked Thor.  I especially liked the character of Loki.  He's kind of messed up, but I think deep down he's probably nice and wants friends.  When Husbandman picked me up, we went out for a late lunch and I told him the entire story of Thor.  It's a good movie with some surprising humor, so if you feel like seeing it, go ahead and see it.

I made this khatool. It's been a rainy lazy day, but tomorrow my landlady tells me the weather will be better.  Her grandson told her that tomorrow there will be a "chicken sun."  I vow to get outside to see it .

Friday, December 13, 2013

I need an umbrella today.

Tr:  Ani tsarikh matriyah hayom.

December and January are the rainy wintry months here in Israel.  Jerusalem had snow this week and it caused quite the ruckus.  Here in Haifa, we have had some significant raining and some howling winds.  Our flat is warm and cozy so all is swell.  We ventured out to a movie tonight called Out of the Furnace.  I now have a new boyfriend.  His name is Christian Bales. If you want to see this movie, you really should.  It's fairly violent, but it's also quite compelling.  Woody Harrelson has creepy gross bad guy down to an art.

I'm kind of jealous of everyone back home having fun with Secret Santas at their job sites.  I asked Husbandman today if he would like to have Secret Santas with me here in the apartment.  He said he didn't really see the point.  I wish I didn't have to explain basic stuff like this to Husbandman, but that's the way it is sometimes.  We'll probably start our Secret Santas on Monday.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

He cooked Wacky Mac.

Tr:  Bishel Wacky Mac.  (Kind of like Kraft Mac and Cheese, but called Wacky Mac).

Ready Made Exhibit, Haifa Art Museum.  Apologies to the artist.  I can't remember your name. 
Huddle up, peeps.  This is what I heard about Canada on an internet news program.  They're probably going to stop home mail delivery in 5 years.  Canadians will have to go to the post office to pick up their mail.  Let's face it, it's probably a good idea.  The postal workers spend hours carrying around junk mail that goes directly into our trash cans.  Or recycling bins if you're better people than we are.  I heard one elderly woman interviewed about this and she said it's going to be tough on her since she has to use a walker and there's a lot of ice on the ground in Canada for much of the year.  So I'm hoping they'll figure out how to help this woman by the time this new law gets going because clearly she's in a real bind.  My mom told me that when she was a kid there were 2 mail deliveries each day, 6 days a week. I find that very surprising.  Mom liked the days of yore.  She said, "I'm glad I lived when I did.  Compared to today's hectic pace life was slow and easy. However, the kids coming up today can't help but be smarter since they're exposed to so much more information.  I think kids lack discipline, though, and they're not seeking knowledge with their smart phones going all day long."

I have to agree with my mom since my smart phone's been a bit of a deterrent to the writing of articles, here in Abba Khoushy Avenue.  But today I quarantined my smart phone in another room, shut down the internets, and got some thinking and writing done on this stormy grey day.  After some frustrating self loathing yesterday, (that nearly resulted in self immolation), today I'm back to doing my best and forgetting the rest.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Here's my son.

Tr:  Hine ha ben sheli.

Today at one point, I started thinking about penmanship.    I've been writing a lot of notes with penmanship for this article I'm writing, so I am paying a lot of attention to my penmanship and crafting it with care.  Slowing it down, making it look almost perfect.  Today I got to wondering, What's the best pensmanship in the entire world look like? I googled it, but I didn't come up with anything conclusive.  I tweeted a question about how people feel about their penmanship (on a fist of 5), but no one tweeted back.  That's okay, people are probably busy.  I am giving my present day penmanship a 3.5 or a 4, but when I was a kid, I got poor marks in penmanship consistently. Teachers actually wrote on my report card that I sucked at penmanship.  I think that's a little rude. Hey Teachers, did you ever think that maybe I didn't have great small motor skills and did you ever think that the C - in penmanship you always doled out with wild abandon kind of got on my last nerve?

Anyway, I've just been pondering about penmanship over here at Ponderosa Pines.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Quite Excellent

Tr:  Mamash metzuyan

Here's another one sentence story I made up.

"Let's face it.  I'm a loser," Isabel said to her classmates, shredding her collage into bits immediately after her presentation.

I didn't get the name of this artist, but you can see this at the Haifa Art Museum.

Monday, December 09, 2013

There's no milk.

Art Espionage, A Megalomaniac Absurd Ready Made Project that's fairly mind blowing.
Tr:  Ein Halav.

Huddle up, we just saw a very good movie on Netflix called The Vicious Kind.  The best part of this movie is the actor called Adam Scott.  I love this guy. Do you remember him in Stepbrothers?  Or how about Friends with Kids?  The weird thing is--- he always reminds me of Chris Eigeman who was in one of my fave movies, Metropolitan.   Chris is a little older, but they deliver their lines in similar ways and I wonder if they're friends in real life, or maybe they could be cousins.   J.K. Simmons is in the movie as well, and I can never remember his name, which is really a little bit rude because I think he's a fine actor and he's in a lot of movies I like. Husbandman says he would give Vicious Kind a 3.5.  I'm shocked because I thought it was really good.  Husbandman once again points out that he believes 3.5 is a very good score.  But when you think it over, that's a C- on the report card, so I'm not sure how he can justify that.  Almost failing. I told him that, but he says he scores report cards differently.  (Than the whole rest of North America, is I guess what's he's saying, which is at the very least, unusual).

Another movie we saw this week is Tiny Furniture.  Pretty darned good.  Now I kind of want to watch that HBO series Girls, because I really like Lena Durham's Tiny Furniture movie, though it was a little bit on the sad side and the main character was kind of rude to her mom. Come to find out, the actress playing her mom is her actual mom, so I think they probably care about each other a lot in real life.  Another Netflix gem, just sitting in cyberspace waiting to be watched by everyone who hasn't watched it yet.  Husbandman gives it a 4 on the fist of 5. High praise indeed.

See these movies if you feel like seeing them. They're right there on Netflix, so I suggest that you watch them while you're eating dinner.  That's what we did.  It worked out great.
Wadi Neighborhood Walk:  Museum without Walls

Yesterday I was anxious about stuff from home and I didn't get much done over here in Israel.  Today I decided to lighten up and do a teensy bit of work here and there.  I may not get this article written by the January deadline, but I'm not going to crumple up into a ball and die, if such is the case.  I'll just keep on living like I always do. Maybe make some web pages about things I'm interested in. Maybe I'll write a different article. Or create some little pictures of amusing characters with colored pencils.  I'm not sure yet.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Don't like to brag, but I have a great husband.

Don't like to brag, aval yesh li baali yafeh.
Mail Art by Batia Shani
At the Haifa Art Museum right now you can see a sababa exhibit called Ready Made.  It's the centennial of Marcel Duchamp's first ready made masterwork, that great bicycle wheel attached to the wooden stool?  
So Haifa Art Museum invited a bunch of artists who fool around with ready made art.  Batia Shani has a room full of mail art in this exhibit.  Batia Shani decorates envelopes in a million cool ways and then sends them out to fictional names and addresses in different cities.  Then the postal service sends the envelopes back to her.  Loved the small collages, the embroidery, the whole cool idea.  After seeing this exhibit we walked around the historic, bustling Wadi neighborhood and found that famous falafel place we looked for once.  The falafel there was magniv.

We walked on Mt. Gilboa this weekend as well.  Such beautiful views up there.  It's kind of neat to look out on another country.  We could see Jordan in the distance.  We ate a late lunch at this place called Herb Farm. So delicious.  We were fairly proud of ourselves because it was a little rainy and we thought we might just do some work and go see Thor, but instead we had adventures on both days.  Lesson learned people.  Have adventures whenever possible.  Make every second count.  

More cool mail art by Batia Shani

Saturday, December 07, 2013

I want to see Thor today.

Ani rotsa to see Thor hayom.

A few years ago, a kid at school was mad at another kid at school, so when the class left to go somewhere, the angry kid stayed behind and peed into the other kid's desk.

Not cool, Angry Kid.

 The destruction of school and personal property was not a good thing to do, but at the time I thought it was a little bit hilarious.  This anecdote demonstrates that people will just get into all kinds of mischief.  Angry kid never did anything like that again, so he probably learned that it was not a good thing to do.  If only we had discussed this situation with him beforehand.

For some reason this memory appeared out of nowhere the other day and so for no reason I decided to share it with all of you. I thought it might be something interesting to discuss with others.

Friday, December 06, 2013

It's raining today.

Tr: Hayom yored geshem.

There's been news from home this week, coming to me in bits and pieces and I'm very happy that pals have kept me up to date with phone calls, texts and emails.  Waiting for news has been an eye opener for me in that I operate under the assumption that news travels hyper fast and we all know everything quick as a wink in this our modern age.  Not totally true peeps.  Sometimes news takes days to surface and may come in dribs and drabs. Sometimes we never know the whole story.  These are soul trying times when I'm reminded that I'm a stranger in a strange land.  While I try to calm my curiosity about home, that's easier said than done, my friends.  Come to find out, that's the lot of the traveler experiencing a year abroad.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Something Something

Tr:  Mashehu mashehu

It's the last night of Hanukah.  We had a wonderful dinner at Koby's parents house with Koby, Judy, and our cool landpeople this very night.  The food was extremely excellent and the conversation was delightful.  These people over here are pretty darned nice, my friends.  I'm admiring the √©lan I see all around me here and I'm especially admiring and envying the bilingualism.
My goal in life is to be bilingual or trilingual asap.  This whole country is full of bilinguals.  I blame my country for not providing me with bilingualism. What, I get gypped out of bilingualism because I live in a country without comprehensive second language education?   I really feel my country owes me another language or two.  Listen My Country, fork over the languages, STAT.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

I have wine.

Yesh li wine.

There are days when I have uncertainty about what I'm writing.  Some writerly advice I picked up on tumblr said that when you're uncertain, put a mark, and then go ahead and try something.  So today I did that.  There are many marks in the draft, but I kept making some attempts to move it along.

Here's another one sentence story I created recently:

As she jogged through the neighborhood, she recognized the man running toward and past her to be Matt Damon, so without hesitation she turned around and jogged behind him at what she considered a respectful distance.

Monday, December 02, 2013

I celebrate Hanukah.

Ani khogeg Hanukah.

Photo Credit:  Eve!  Toda raba, Eve!

Sometimes when I don't want to start working on the article, I write a few one sentence stories to get me warmed up and to waste time.  Today's story was:  

She could not hear her phone buzzing incessantly because, unbeknownst to her at this point, she had woken up with Sudden Onset Deafness.  

Sunday, December 01, 2013

I love birds.

Ani ohevet tsiporim.

Photo Credit:  Eve.  THANKS, EVE!!!!
Lee Daniels' The Butler.  We saw it this weekend.  Kind of uncomfortable watching your country's history of atrocities against your fellow citizens when you're in a movie theater in a country not your own.  What are these people thinking, I kept wondering.   But the good news is, it's a v. good movie and you should see it if you feel like it.  Forest and Oprah deliver some fine performances and the portrayals of the various presidents are cleverly done.  Great job splicing in historical footage.  Kudos to my namesake, Lee Daniels.

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...