Friday, January 31, 2014

Don't waste time talking about it, just do it (if you want to).

Tr: Chaval al ha'zman.  (I really don't think I'm translating this correctly, but the point is if you want to go to Belgium you should).

Bruges has been a treat.  Today I learned about St.Ursula.  We saw many pieces of art about St. Ursula.  She didn't want to marry a pagan king, but she got some pressure to do so, so she said okay, I'll marry the guy, but first I want to visit Rome and take my companions with me.  Her companions were 10,000 women who identified as virgins.  So she went to Rome with her pals and then she went back to Cologne and the Huns killed her and all her companions.  "I wonder why they wanted to kill her and her friends," I wondered. Husbandman responded, "Because they're Huns.  Did you not get that part?"  I don't really think that's a great answer to my query, but maybe he's right.  Another thing I learned about St. Ursula is she's a good saint to invoke when you have a headache.
Can't remember the artist's name, but I'll figure it out.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Now I have a good time.

Tr:  Akhshav yesh li zman tov. (This could be wrong).

Everything in Bruges is going pretty well so far. As you can see from the photo, Bruges is a very charming place. I like Bruges and I probably always will.

Update!  I forgot that yesterday was Creativity Share Thursday.  Yesterday I read the NYT on the train and knew what I wanted to share, but then later forgot about it. What with all the hullaballoo about arriving in Bruges.  So, I woke up and decided to remedy that situation.  I now share with you the coolest photography exhibit by Shannon Jensen called A Long Walk.  Jensen says these photographs are extremely simple, but received a lot of attention because they tell the refugee story more effectively than more sophisticated photos she has taken.   Check it out.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crazy Fun

Tr:  Kef Lo Normali

Geezlouise, I went to a Carolus Thermen today.  I took the waters, so to speak.  I floated in various pools, some inside, some outside.  I got treatments known as massages and pedicures.  I went in some saunas.  In short, my day was spawsome.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What's the matter? Nothing.

Ma yesh?  Klum.

So far, so great in Aachen.  Spent many hours today walking to and fro, visiting museums, taking pictures, getting my hair cut, learning about Charlemagne.  Now I'm back at the hotel and I'm going to try to work a bit.  A day late on the Monday Writing Report (MWR) and so far, there's nothing to report.  Aachen's been a distraction, Not going to lie. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

At the Mighty Blacksmith's

Tr:  Zum Wehrhaften Schmied

We're in Aachen.  We took a train here today. There's something about riding the rails from one nation to the next that gives you a sense that you're on an adventure. Aachen is awesome. If you ever think, "Should I go to Aachen?" the answer is yes. I couldn't take pictures today because I had to keep my gloves on, but I might take a few tomorrow. There's a cathedral here that is extremely stunning. Come to find out, Charlemagne is buried there. Tonight we ate at Zum Wehrhaften Schmied.  We muddled through with our  language problems. I answered, "Ken," to some of the sweet server's queries, which means I am now an official Hebrew speaker.
If you're in Haifa, go see this exhibit at the Hecht Museum

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Tr:  Be'emet?


 I'm in Brussels.  I don't have a lot of time here to bond with Brussels, but the city is beautiful, if a bit cold and rainy.  Brussels, you're a good egg.  Try to shape up on the weather.   

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I'm here again because I need something.

Tr:  Ani po shuv ki ani tzarikh mashehu.

It's pack attack time. In the wee hours of the morning, we'll be heading to Brussels.  We'll then take a train to Aachen, Germany. Husbandman will work.  I'll walk around and have a fun day at a spa.  Then we'll take a train to Bruges, Belgium for 2 days of exploring.  It's going to be a quick trip, but probably a great one.

Have you ever heard of the Carmelite monks?  Well, the Carmelites started out right here in Haifa, a long time ago, maybe around 700.  Not sure. Anyway, we went to their monastery today and visited their beautiful church, Stella Maris.

And have you ever heard of the prophet Elijah?  From the Old Testament? He lived on Mt. Carmel in some caves.  This isn't his cave, but this cave is near his cave.  

And have you ever heard of ossuaries?  Ossuaries are little bone boxes.  After someone died way 

back when around the year 0, their family would bury their body and then about a year later take 
their bones and put them in an ossuary.  I like these ossuaries a lot.  I asked Husbandman if he could keep my bones in an ossuary and he just said, "Not going to happen," and walked off to look at something else.  We were in the glorious Hecht Museum.  

Not sure I've told you all how much I LOVE living in Haifa! The sentiment merits repeating.  Haifa Metzuyan!  (Haifa's excellent!)

Now I have to pack, which as you all know is an activity I do not care for.  Husbandman is being Mr. Perfect, and has packed already, which gets on my last nerve. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sankalpa Day 24

Napkin, Plate, Fork.  Tr:  Cake was excellent!

Landwoman brought us cake this afternoon.  This cake was something to behold. I decided to draw the empty plate next to me.  
Sankalpa challenge is coming to a close. I wish I had done more decluttering of computer files during these 24 days, but I'll keep working on that.  

Julia Cameron believes we should write affirmations and acknowledge that we already have the help we need. She has a model affirmation in her book which I will now borrow and personalize:

I'm creative and confident every day of my life.  Each day I'm shown which steps to take.  I'm supported fully and happily in my productive work.  I know exactly how to begin each day and what to do to begin correctly.  Through small exploratory actions, I decide the next right thoughts and actions to take to move my important work along to completion. 

I love the affirmative nature of the Sankalpa.  Basically, with sankalpa, you're thinking, It's in the bag!  I've got this. A nice way to start a new year.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sankalpa Day 23

Note the look of determination on his face.

As you all know, it's time for the Thursday Creativity Share.

I was inspired by Ira Glass's words to stay the course when you're starting out. When you know your ideas aren't that great, keep working.  Don't give up. It takes time to get a handle on what you're doing.  Like with my goal to be a great artist some day.  I know this sketch isn't that great, but I'm going to keep plugging along. I'm going to pay attention to smarties who have been on the creative journey for awhile now.

Like Michael Nobbs over on the awesome Sustainably Creative blog.

Also, writer Paul Kilduff who shares his cartoons on Facebook.  You should like his page.  It always makes me laugh.  (Full disclosure:  He's one of our bff's.)  (Why would that matter anyway?) (Just look at his cartoons). (Give me a break with this disclosure business).

And artist Marja Inez who has a great tumblr that I follow and adore.

Lastly, good news, my college roommate, Maira Kalman, has a new book out!  It's about Thomas Jefferson. Can not tell you how happy I am about this.  Kudos, Maira!

Thursday Creativity Share is a wrap. The day begins. I'm moving into my important work, with confident creativity and creative confidence.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sankalpa Day 22

My New Favorite Thing
Before I work each day, I get a fearful feeling and I'm not crazy about that.  But Julia Cameron wrote on her creativity blog that it's not the beginning that's scary.  It's the unknown, the fear of not knowing what's going to happen during the work session. She says it's important to "surrender to the mystery of the creative journey."  So that's what I did today and it worked out pretty well.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sankalpa Day 21

Today I listened to a talk by John Cleese on being creative.  You need 4 things to be creative.  Time, Space, Humor and Confidence.  You also need to have a fun spirit of playfulness when you're in the discovery phase of working on a project.  Once you get some ideas and make some decisions, then it's time to set play aside and get to work.  I'm in the beginning stages of the book outline revision and I really need to lighten up about it.

On my slog today I found out that sting rays are hurting thousands of people every year.  Supposedly it's all unintentional on the stingray's part, but I'm a bit skeptical about that. I'm glad I learned about the stingray shuffle, so I'll probably not get hurt by stingrays.  Please teach everyone you know about the stingray shuffle because otherwise you could be hurt or killed by stingrays.  Right now, stingrays are getting on my last nerve.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sankalpa Day 20

It's time for the Monday Writing Report (MWR).  Here's the thing.  I finished up the article and the conference proposal early last week and just yesterday I got back to revising the book outline. Took a few days off, so to speak. Yesterday did not go well.  I wrote some notes, and then took a nap. Then I went to see Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit, which is great and you should see it if you want.  Starting up a new writing project, I experience a sharp, cold, daunting terror in the pit of my stomach so I've been reading a little about confidence here.  I've also been reading about James Baldwin writing in Paris.  Being a copycatter, I may emulate James Baldwin and head over to our local coffee shop this morning. Copycatting James Baldwin is going to involve a disruption of my sacred routine, but maybe that's okay.  Mix it up a bit so to speak?  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sankalpa Day 19

I'm trying hard to remember if I did anything with confidence or creativity today.  The sad answer is no.  I was feeling punky so I just noodled about aimlessly.

In the evening we went with our friend to see Jack Ryan:  Shadow Recruit.  Let me tell you, this movie did not disappoint.  Jack Ryan is pretty quick on his feet and he saved the U.S. from a big catastrophe.  See it if you feel like it.  Especially if you're in the mood for some action and adventure.

Our landman planted flowers today.  Mostly cyclamen, in pots all over his garden.  Really beautiful.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sankalpa Day 18

Picture Mary and the angel Gabriel having a chat here.
Church of the Annunciation

Husbandman's caption, "I was going to bring brownies, but...."
We went to the Mane Katz Museum today and learned about the Jewish School of Paris.  Jewish artists studied in Paris and then some of them went to live in Tel Aviv after WWII.  One of these artists said something like this.... We want to create our own Montparnasse here in Tel Aviv, not a Montparnasse of cafes, but a Montparnasse of creativity.  This is not an exact quote, but I've communicated the idea with confidence and I love the idea very much.  Creativity is part of my sankalpa, so I feel I would have fit right in with this group of cool artists.  They would have truly enjoyed having me around and I'm sure I would have learned a lot from them.  After Mane Katz we went to the beach at Habonim. On the way I read about Chaim Soutine to Husbandman.  When I first told Husbandman I was going to read to him about Chaim Soutine, he muttered, "Damn it," but then he seemed to listen attentively to the information I shared. Another beautiful sunny day in Israel.  I took some creative pictures and though we could not find the Blue Cave we were looking for because our map was only in Hebrew, our time there was naim meod.  (Very Pleasant).  We loved every second.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sankalpa Day 17

Today was chock full of creativity and confidence.  We started out with the Roman ruins at Bet She'an.  Incredible.  Then we headed over to Nazareth.  The Church of the Annunciation contains the grotto where Mary got the news from Gabriel that she was pregnant with child.  This is the coolest church. Ruins in the basement, the rest is very modern, super beautiful.  Countries from all over the world contributed mosaics for this church.  You're going to be seeing a lot of Marys in the next few days my friends.  We also checked out a synagogue where Jesus did a bit of teaching.  Then we went to see HER, a very wonderful movie you should see if you want to.  Hayom (today) was a constant bustle of appreciating this great place we're living in this year.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sankalpa Day 16

These little greenies just popped up this week. 
I'm beginning a new blog feature.  It's called Creativity Share Thursday.  You're probably going to really like it.

Jeff Wolin sometimes plays tennis with Husbandman.  He's also one of the most amazing photographers on the planet.  If you go here you can learn about his latest exhibit.

20 Something Daughter started a new blog.  I believe she's a very funny writer.  She spends a lot of time on her posts, unlike her mom. Go 20 Something!

Bruce has a new album called High Hopes. Bruce's last album, Wrecking Ball, is the soundtrack to my sabbatical year.  I listen to it pretty much every day, on low volume, as I try to write stuff.  High Hopes probably can't be as good as Wrecking Ball, but I'll get it anyway because I really love Bruce Springsteen. He's funny with Jimmy Fallon here.

So that's Creativity Share Thursday.  It's a wrap.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sankalpa Day 15

This morning I got creative and wrote a speed story. Tonight I'm getting confident, posting it on this blog.

Harriet Harrison wears a snood all day, on account of her localized hypertrichosis. Each night she buzzes her locks away.  The next morning she pops on her snood on her way out the door and proceeds through her day, puffing up the snood as the minutes tick by.  Harriet donates her hair at the Classy Clips Salon on Saturday mornings.  Though it’s a habit now, it still feels weird to her. Why on earth would anyone want all this extra hair, she wonders.  If I could be bald and stay bald, I’d be thrilled.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sankalpa Day 14

 This is the Monday Writing Report (MWR).  I forgot about it yesterday.  Tonight I finished my conference proposal.  It had to be 500 words and it came in at 495.  Boom.

It's due tomorrow at midnight so tomorrow I'll read it over and write a cheesy 50 word blurb. Then I'll send it on its way.  And I'll wish it well.

If this proposal gets accepted, I'll be happy to chat at NCTE in November.  If it gets rejected, I'll go to NCTE anyway and give a mock presentation to my friends over drinks at a local publican house.  It's basically win win.

I am being fairly creative with this proposal, hitting an angle that I haven't hit before with my dissertation data.  And I'm confident that I did my best with it.  Now I have to start working on the book outline revision.  I'm going to give it the old college try.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sankalpa Day 13

Though it's almost dinner time, Husbandman said he needs a little nap.  I told him it had to be a short one because I have this overwhelming desire to go to the pub and have a scotch.  This overwhelming creative desire comes over me about once a year and today's the day.  On his way toward his nap, I heard Husbandman murmuring, "There are people who don't understand me and there are people who do understand me, but the people who do understand me often either overestimate me or underestimate me."  

Okay, not sure at all which category I fall into, but I do know this.  Husbandman will be waking from the nap soon to drive me to the pub.  I wish our pals could meet us there.  This means you.
#1 Son's Big Purchase from the Old City.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sankalpa Day 12

Ibex.  Foto Credit:  #1 Son

Husbandman came home early from his trip.  This is good news indeed.

My former school is going through a hard time right now.  Big restructuring changes.  Front page news. Discussions around the issues on the facebook, email, texts.  I am inspired by the way people are making their voices heard. I need to beef up my confidence level that these peeps are making a difference.  Somewhere along the way,  I've become kind of a "There's probably no hope" kind of gal.  Whats up with that?  That's why confidence is a good sankalpa for me.  And creativity as well.  I wish schools could be judged on their creativity and not on their test scores.  What if schools got extra $ and HIGH GRADES for having the most interesting inquiry projects, art events and avant-garde performances?  Everyone would be scrambling to hop aboard the creativity train.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sankalpa Day 11

Do you love this photo as much as I do?  Or less? Or more? 
I'm thinking about changing my sankalpa to something like, "Creativity and confidence flow through me."  Not sure.  I'll keep you posted.

Today started off sad so I took myself to see Saving Mr. Banks.  It was good.  See it if you want.  Emma Thompson always does her best.  I'm curious about P.L.Travers now.  I loved hearing her voice during the credits. I was sad to read that her grandchildren said that she died not loving anyone and nobody loving her. Isn't that depressing?  In the movie, P.L. Travers is portrayed as both confident and creative, so I know there's more to life, but I feel like I have all the love I could ever want and I certainly love a plethora of peeps.  So confidence and creativity.  I'm going to fool around with both this week and get back to you.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sankalpa Day 10

I can be quite content being alone for long stretches of time.

I think being a teacher for so long has made me this way. Teaching is frenetic and every day has countless interactions with many people.  I will be ready to get back into the game this summer, but for now being alone in this space suits me fine.

I went out for a slog today, and I can now slog for 24 minutes.  I'm shooting for 30.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Sankalpa Day 9

Husbandman headed off to Toronto last night.  I drove him to the train station at one in the morning.  As in 1:00 a.m. Today my groggy demeanor got me to thinking.  You know how human beings tend to run around thinking that they have to make every second count and time is so precious etc.?  What if they pretended instead that they were immortal and time didn't matter because there was just so much of it?  Reverse the whole supply and demand train of thought so to speak.  Imagining my immortality, I declared today to be International Plenty of Time to Waste Day. I read some books and now I'm watching Project Runway Season 12, a series I currently own having purchased it with my own money. It took a lot of courage to blow off my obligations and fritter today away. My sankalpa seems to be working.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Sankalpa Day 8

Read about post project blues (PPB) today and figured out that's what I was experiencing yesterday.   An internet creative suggested overcoming PPB by doing one thing to move your project along each day. So I summoned up the old sankalpa, set the old timer, got started and actually made some headway. Not as much as I wanted, but that's neither here nor there.  Progress was made.

Changing the subject, we had some hairy scary moments today and I'll tell you why.  We have neither washer nor dryer here, but we drop off some clothes each week at a laundry place where the clothes are taken from us and return days later clean as a whistle. You'll be pleased to know that we're still washing  clothing in the kitchen sink each day, but we give ourselves a pass on items like denim jeans for obvious reasons.  Come to find out, our clothes went missing from the laundry place and we kept going over there, searching. The owner of the place has been out this week (visiting her family in Russia) and the worker left behind speaks no English and in fact speaks mostly Russian. We dropped in several times this week speaking our English and she would speak back in her Russian and then we'd leave without our laundry.  It was getting tense, what with Husbandman's trip to O!Canada! coming up tonight, so in dire desperation we called in LandWoman (LW) yesterday.   LW listened attentively and then told us not to worry.  Like WonderWoman of yore, presto, LW shows up tonight with our freakin' laundry!  Boom!  We just sat back in amazement.  Then LW gave us some cake.  In other words, all is swell that ends well.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Sankalpa Day 7

Anish Kapoor, Israel Museum
 I'm going to be honest, I didn't feel courageous today.  Rather I felt kind of like a huge dork with no ideas, a flat tax time waster, a veritable wastrel.  As time slipped by, I focused on past transgressions and yes, even did some self loathing.

With a Sankalpa, the self-loathing that comes from dwelling on past transgressions can begin to dissolve. In its place is an exercise in effort and surrender—create an intention and open yourself to the universe.

On the good side, I did take a slog and it was sunny and warm.  And I'm perking up now, heading to a movie.  Tomorrow's a new day.  I'm going to be open to the universe, if possible.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Sankalpa Day 6

It's time for the Monday Writing Report (MWR).  Today I read in Julia Cameron's book that it's more important to focus on what we are doing, than how we are doing.  So even when it seems like we're not doing that great with our project, we can just focus on the doing and keep going.  Today I did not work very hard on the proposal for the conference, but I did write down some notes.  The theme of the conference will be STORY, the landscape of experience.  Something like that.  My article fits well into the theme because I'm writing about how kids write their stories and how teachers can help them revise their stories.  So I'll keep plugging away.  I have a little over a week til it's due.

The EDITOR wrote me back just about 10 minutes ago. She had some suggestions for changing the outline, making it simpler and more focused.  I'm not positive I can do what she wants, but I'm going to give it a try.  Even though she wasn't ecstatic about the outline, she wasn't telling me to get out of her face and never contact her again or she'd call the police and have me arrested.  So, I'm going to stay strong and give it another go.  Yikes.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Sankalpa Day 5


Stayed pretty strong today.  Did some slogging, started dabbling with writing a conference proposal, attended my awesome international book club on Skype. 

I was fooling around on twitter during my lunch break and saw that much admired Jane Lynch tweeted about her astrologer.  I headed over to meet her astrologer right away. If she’s good enough for Jane, she’s perfect for me. Come to find out, the astrologer’s a wise one. She said that 2013 wasn’t a great year for Libras.  Bingo, Bet it all Beaver.  7/12 of my year could have been a Stephen King novel.  Astrologer also said that 2014 is going to be  good year for Libras! Good, that is, if I follow my heart, more than my head.  I’m not sure what following my heart means, but I’m going to be googling it and learning more.  

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Sankalpa Day 3

We've been gone for 5 months.  Our sabbatical is half over.

I really didn't need much courage today because we had a beautiful brunch at the home of Husbandman's colleague.  Then we napped and read books and now  we're watching The Talented Mr. Ripley. V. creepy. Matt Damon keeps killing people and he needs to knock it off.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Sankalpa Day 2

#1 Son gives me a heart attack in Timna National Park

Just returned home from a cheerful walk along the Mediterranean Sea.  Now I'm reading more about sankalpa at this cool website where the writer ties sankalpa into different chakras. My sankalpa of courage  has to do with some issues with the third chakra Manipura. I only skimmed the article, so take everything I say here with a grain of salt.  The website author offers a list of sankalpas for me.  I think my fave is "I am powerful, capable and strong."  Sounds good right!?

Let's not forget that part of sankalpa is not buying stuff for 24 days.  And getting rid of stuff for 24 days. Today I got rid of a bunch of old computer files.  I really don't have many possessions here, but my computer keeps telling me my security disk is full, so I've got my work cut out for me. Bingo Bet it all Beaver!

Guess what peeps???  I sent off the article today.  It's out there in the hands of others and I'm going to have to wait courageously for news about whether or not it's accepted.  In the meantime, I'm going to have to garner up some super strength to write to the book editor this week and ask her why she hasn't written back in 3 months. We probably all know that this is not going to end well, but I'm going to stay strong and work on sending out the book proposal to others.  And I'm also going to stay strong. No matter what.

We didn't see American Hustle last night so tonight we are heading out early.  

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Sankalpa Day 1

This is the honey badger. 
I took a little refresher course about sankalpa over here. I really like the whole concept. I want to be stronger and more courageous and with sankalpa, I start with the belief that I already AM strong and courageous.  So...easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Case in point.  I was strong twice today.  First, I was super strong when I had to write two extra little side bar articles to submit with the main article.  Even though I was annoyed with this requirement because if they don't accept my article, I spent time on sidebars for no reason, I wrote the sidebars without further ado.  Then I had the second case of courage.  At the end of another day of working on the paper but not finishing the paper I started getting flipped out about how long this has taken me to write and how I'm so slow at everything and how if it's not accepted I'm going to jump off a bridge, etc.  But then I just decided that I'm doing everything I can and I should stay in the present moment and why not go see American Hustle and eat some popcorn?  This is the kind of strong minded approach to life I want to cultivate in 2014.  So glad to hear from Nance and KC about their sankalpas today.  We're off to a good start.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Remember at the beginning of 2013 when we learned about sankalpa?  I'm thinking about doing that challenge again.  I think it involves 24 posts.  It involves letting go of stuff.  It involves making a goal of sorts and saying it every day.  I honestly can't remember the details, but join me in this month of discovery if you feel like it. And if you're busy, no worries.  But make sure to read about my sankalpa as often as you can.  I'm thinking of working with COURAGE as my sankalpa this year.  Experimenting with courage, nerve, grit, resolve.  Let's see how it goes.

Happy New Year, Pallies! 2014 is going to be a lucky year. I know this because the digits in 2014 add up to 7 and I minored in Numerology at UC Berkeley.

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...