Thursday, February 27, 2014


Tr:  Marshim.

Looking for Thursday Creativity Share?  You're in the right spot.

I quite enjoyed this creative collaboration of Canadian artist Aganetha Dyck and some bees in this exhibit called Honeybee Alterations.  I found it on the creativity web site My Modern Met.

LOVE these sketchbook diary entries by Gemma Correll and you will as well.  I'd love to have future students fool around with sketchbook diaries. Maybe they could create them for a literature response about a character in a book?  The wheels are spinning when I see cool creative stuff like this.  Going back to the classroom next year, so I can force my creative will on others.  Yeeha!

Check out Keri Smith's beautiful web page.  You can draw a little on the home page web site, as I did.  I drew a picture of an Advil bottle. I especially like her Image of the Day messages.

These jazz musicians are phenomenal.  #1 Son doesn't play on the first song, but he plays on all the rest and he's jazzy as can be.  Well done, #1!

I want to read this new book by Yoko Ono.  It's called Acorn.  I have her book Grapefruit, so why wouldn't I get this book too?

Thursday Creativity Share is a wrap.  Go forth and create or just do what I do, which is appreciate the creations of others.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Have Fun.

Tr:  Bilui Na'im.
Early this very morning I learned about the new monument to Denmark Vesey erected in South Carolina.  I learned that Denmark Vesey was a slave who won some money and bought his freedom.  Then he became a carpenter.  He made a good living and wanted to purchase his wife and kids, but could not. Over the course of ten years, Denmark Vesey planned a slave rebellion that would free thousands of slaves.  Sadly, some of his friends ratted out the plan and Denmark was killed by hanging along with 34 others.  There are people who are not happy about the new monument to Denmark, but I think it's important and overdue and helps us better understand our complex history.  It's high time to pass the word about Denmark Vesey, a free man who fought to free others.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I don't have time to talk right now.

Ilana Noor Museum
Tr:  Ein li zman ledaber achshav.

Today I chatted on facebook with 20 Something. First I wrote: The day begins anew. I'm v. jealous because I saw on facebook a link to this gal's blog that went viral this week because she wrote a funny entry about Victoria Secret swim suits. Why can't my camel story go viral? I think it's very funny.

20 Something replied: You're viral to me!

That was a kind and thoughtful response, and it calmed me down considerably. I guess going viral on the internets isn't all it's cracked up to be because the blog author wrote that some people were a little mean to her in their comments and called her some fairly rude names. Not sure I could handle that right now. I'm in a good place and I don't want anything messing it up.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Look and listen.

Tr: Tir'e ve tishma.

Huddle up Peeps, It's time for the Monday Writing Report (MWR).  I know this isn't the most exciting day of the week for you beautiful blog readers, but you're definitely helping me out with my accountability and focus, so it's all worth it.

Today was a productive day.  Why, you ask?  Let's break it down.

1.  I worked on campus.  It's a little easier to focus when I'm not working right next to my bed and kitchen.
2.  Morning pages are really helping me get into the groove. Morning pages are 15 minutes of stream of consciousness writing that I type each day, super fast.  I instantly delete them when I'm done. It's very freeing and a great way to let go of worries and woes. Julia Cameron's Artist's Way series is the inspiration for this valuable writing tool. Kudos, Julia!
3.  I've decided to be okay about the reality that when I get home this summer, I will still be working on this project.  So remember when you see me this summer to say stuff like, "How awesome that you didn't finish your project and you can still spend time with it now that you're home?"
4.  After 3 or 4 slow draggy days, the 5th day is when stuff usually gets a little easier.  Not a lot, just a little.  And that's good to remember.  I plan to let my students waste time for 3 to 4 days before kicking it into gear next year during writer's workshop.  We've got to trust the process. Everyone needs to know this.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's funny.

Ze matskhik.

I saw a Reality TV show called HandyMan the other day.  The handymen had a challenge to take a bunch of chairs and turn them into tables.  They used their special handyman tools and they made some fun little tables.  That's something I wish I could do. I would like to make a table out of just regular supplies.  When I return stateside, I'm probably going to apprentice myself to a carpenter or some type of table artist.  My tables will be one of a kind.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I saw a good movie today.

Raiti seret tov hayom.  (Inside Llewyn Davis.  See it if you feel like it).

Another great thing about Be'erotayim is the lack of light pollution out there in the desert, so the stars were in splendid display.  I lounged in our hammock and stared up at them for quite some time.

And another great thing about that place is that there's a plethora of birds about. Yesterday morning we got up at the crack of dawn and went off to find the famous houbara bustard. The houbara does a nerdy little mating dance this time of year.  I saw it with my own eyes.  We consider ourselves novice birders so it was kind of neat to be with College Chum and her crew of serious birders. If you want to be a serious birder, this is what you need to know. You should eventually invest in a high power telescope.  Also, always remember to offer views through your telescope to the others who haven't yet bought their telescopes. The birders on our trip did this and it was extremely fun to see clear close up views of shrikes, little grebes and arabian babblers.  Lastly, if you offer the birds food, most of them will come and eat from your hands. So pack some grubs next time you head out on an early morning bird trip.

Friday, February 21, 2014

I love Be'erotayim.

Tr:  Ani ohevet Be'erotayim.

Be'erotayim is the place where we stayed last night.  It's called a khan, which is an Arab word for "inn." Be'erotayim is in the Negev Desert.  They have camels.  We went there with College Chum and it was a blast from beginning to end.  In this blog post, I'll focus on our one hour camel tour and everything you need to know about riding a camel.

This is our friendly second camel.  We were on our FirstCamel when FirstCamel tried to bite College Chum's foot off while she was sitting on her camel.  Our wonderful guide had told us to hold on to the saddle handles and never to scream or startle the camels.  So when FirstCamel was poised to bite off CC's foot, I said in a super calm voice, "He's going to bite you.  He's going to bite you.  He's going to bite you."  When CC raised up her legs away from First Camel's grasp, FirstCamel started biting her camel.  Turns out these two camels don't get along, so Wonder Guide had us get off First Camel.  Easier said than done. By the way, we never learned the name of FirstCamel.  

We got on Second Camel.  Her name is Samira and she is 15 years old.  She was a delight. For the first 10 minutes or so I felt like I was probably going to fall off Samira, but I figured it was only about a 7 foot fall and I would not be seriously injured.  Then I figured out how to center my body on the saddle and that calmed me down. This is a photo I took of our shadow while riding Samira. 

We headed out into the desert.  In the distance is the border with Egypt.  We learned a lot about camels, the border, and the plants of the desert.  At one point, Wonder Guide asked if we'd like to get off the camels to check out the plants.  I said no thank you because it's a real hassle getting on and off a camel.  So Wonder Guide got off and picked some edible flowers for us and we ate them.  Our camels ate them too. 

The desert was stunning, but most of the time I just looked down at Samira's head. I'm a huge Samira fan.

Photo credit Husbandman.

At the end of a camel ride, it's nice to come sit by the fire and drink some tea or coffee.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

We have everything.

Tr: Yesh lanu hakol.

Cool art by Vered Gersztenkorn

We're heading into the Negev desert tomorrow.  We're going to meet up with college chum to see some birds, ride some camels (maybe) and look at the stars.  Today was a delightful day.  February 19th will forever more be the day of international friendship and cheer. You need to forever more celebrate this day in a manner to your liking.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Don't talk during the movie.

Tr: Lo ledaber bizman ha'seret.
This very day I read a book review about a memoir written by a guy who took Lariam, which is an anti-malaria medication and lariam caused him to have amnesia.  He was in India and totally forgot who he was.  It took him a long time to get back to himself.  You need to know that lariam might save you from malaria, but it can also wipe out your identity.

Later this very day I read another review about another person who wrote a book about her amnesia that happened when a fan fell from the wall and hit her head.  She never recovered her memories and had to start life over from scratch.  You need to make sure heavy objects are fastened securely around the home site.

Both amnesiacs wrote books that sound interesting to me.  I wish I could make my book on teaching writing seem a bit more dramatic.  Amnesia's out, but there has to be something wrong with me that could snazz this story up a bit.

Monday, February 17, 2014

That's it.

Tr:  Zeyu Ze.
Huddle up peeps, it's time for the Monday Writing Report (MWR).  In anticipation of writing this report, I applied myself today and tried to work to my potential.  I'm done with the rough draft of the outline for the book proposal.  Tomorrow I'll start the final draft.  

While we're on the subject of writing, I bought a new notebook this week as well as some excellent pens and pencils. I suggest you do the same, as soon as possible.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I talk on skype with my son.

Tr:  Ani medaberet ba'skype im ha ben sheli.  (I wish).

Our Rental Car
Yesterday was a rainy day, so Husbandman and I traveled south to Tel Aviv.  We went to 2 museums.  We accidentally found this cool lunch place called Puaa.  It was sunny during lunch so we sat outside.  Really pleasant.  There were some smokers outside though, so that was a drawback.

Public Service Announcement Time, Peeps:  Smokers, please stop smoking.  You're wrecking stuff for others.  I hope Host Country soon gets to passing laws that will make your lives miserable like the laws for our smokers back in the States.  Sorry, but it's for your own good, smokers.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I can go now.

Tr:  Ani yekhola lalekhet akhshav.

I'm going to hand out some free advice that a few bloggers need to know.  You know who you are.  Listen up, this is going to change your lives.  I'm discovering that some of you aren't blogging because you're caring too much about creating quality blog posts. (Not you, Pronto). For most of you, perfectionism is holding you back and keeping your readers out in the cold, which is a little frustrating.  Here are some tips for getting back into the blogging groove.

First off, phone it in.  Set a timer for one minute and write the first sentence that comes into your head. Treat your blog as you would a tweet. Throw perfectionism in the trash. Try to write the worst blog entries you can.  That's what I do and it's working out fine.

How hard is it to open up the computer and write down a random thought or two on your blog? These thoughts don't even have to be connected to reality. Here.  I'll show you.

  • I used to be an Olympic skier, but I only medaled once and it was a bronze, so I don't like to tell people about it.
  • I saw Robo Cop last night.  Really good.  If you want to see it, you should.
  • The Koreans have kind of an attractive flag. 
  • Husbandman has turned into quite the bookworm this year.  I'm a wee bit annoyed with his constant reading and holier than thou literacy attitude.
So that took about 4 minutes and any reader would be happy to click on your blog and see any one of these interesting ideas, as opposed to wasting their time clicking on your blog to find zip written there yet again. Not trying to pressure anyone, just stating facts.  Let's go people.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

We never dance polka.

Tr:  Anakhnu af-pa'am lo rokdim polka.

Hey ho, Hi ho and how are you doing? It's time for Thursday Creativity Share.  Welcome! 

I just learned about these crazy creations called gathas, simple little poems you recite along with the rhythm of your breathing.  Gathas can help you with staying mindful.  Example:

Before starting the car
I know where I am going.
The car and I are one,
if the car goes fast, I go fast.

Nice, right?  There are gathas for brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, waking up.  Here's a gatha I wrote to recite when I start worrying because I don't know what my job will be next year. 

I am 53 years old.
I have no job.
My fate is in others' hands.
Nothing can be done. 

And that's Thursday Creativity Share.  It's a wrap. See you next week with more creative stuff you need to know about.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

There's an elephant in the zoo.

Tr:  Yesh pil be'gan khayiot.

I took a day off in order to wallow in self pity, for my own stupid reasons.

By 5pm, the wallowing was getting old so I became vertical and made a cup of tea.  My mom always said that her mom always said that a cup of tea solves everything.  I googled to find out more about the veracity of my grandmother's maxim and come to find out her words about the power of tea are all over the internets.  Way to go, Nana.  Your legacy lives on.

Need to know portion of the blog entry: Most of the world's tea is grown in my home state, Indiana. That's why we're known as the problem solving state.

One other thing you need to know about tea is that when you say "oolong" you're supposed to pronounce it "woolong."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Where Are the Olympics?

Eifo ha Olympics?

Swimming in February?  Weird and wonderful for me, but negatively impacting my Olympics viewing.

If you're thinking about moving to another country during an Olympics year, you need to know that some other countries (I'm talking to you, Host Country), aren't super crazy obsessed when it comes to the Olympics.  Depending on where you live you might not be able find television coverage of the Olympics no matter how much time you spend with that remote in your hand.  I understand that Host Country only has 5 athletes in these winter games but couldn't we be following their every move at the games and learning every intimate detail about their personal lives via short informational films?  I guess someone has a different idea about what "need to know" means when it comes to the Olympics over here in host country. Host Country, you know I love you, but let's kick it into gear with the games.

Update:  It has come to my attention (thanks, College Chum) that the Olympics is on TV right now. Channel 20.  So disregard above comments.  I don't feel like writing a whole new blog entry at this point because I'm busy watching the Olympics.

Monday, February 10, 2014

How are you all today?

Tr: Ma shlomkhem hayom?

Huddle up peeps, it's time for the Monday Writing Report (MWR).  Let's stop the folderol and get down to brass tacks. Frankly, not a lot to report.  I've outlined the intro and the first 3 chapters of the proposal and today was my day to tackle chapter 4.  I'm sorry to tell you that it simply didn't happen.  I tried and I failed. That's just how this stuff goes sometimes.  I'll try again tomorrow. Yes, of course I'm annoyed, but that's neither here nor there. I've got to take responsibility for this epic fail and look forward.

Husbandman and I finished Season 1 of Game of Thrones last night.  Game of Thrones is one oddball show.  I could do without the decapitations and tongue removals to tell you the honest truth. And the deaths by burning. But mostly we're enjoying it.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

What are you doing?

Tr:  Ma ata ose?

I was all set up to get some work done today when our wonderful landwoman came by at ten a.m. and asked if I wanted to see Nebraska with her. My horoscope is all about making decisions with my heart rather than my head, so quick as a wink I replied in the affirmative. The movie was quite good and if you want to see it you definitely should.  It had some really sweet moments.

All afternoon, I kept thinking about how good it felt to change my plans. As June Squibb says, "Rules are meant to be broken."  I'm officially obsessed with June Squibb right now. I think everyone needs to know that June Squibb should win the academy award for her supporting actress role in Nebraska.  Not only is June Squibb a great actress, she has the greatest name in the universe. I wish I could be named June Squibb.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Good morning, Our Niece.

Tr:  Boker tov, akhyahnit shelanu.
Giant Jelly

Our sababa niece is here. So pleasant to have a visitor.

After a stroll on the beach, and a fab dinner at Giraffe, we saw Dallas Buyer's Club last night.  It's hard for me to see movies about people with AIDS but this one is nominated for the Oscar and you know I will see all 10 before Oscar night. I didn't know about the buyers clubs that helped people buy drugs that hadn't been FDA approved.  It's a good movie which you should see if you want, but the bodies of the actors freaked me out.  You need to know that it's not a good idea to lose so much weight that your bones are sticking through your skin.  Try not to do that for any reason. I'm begging you.

Off to the Hula!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

I will need help.

Tr:  Eheye tsarikh ezra.

It's time for Thursday Creativity Share.  Tra la la LA!  This is what I've come up with.

First off, Husbandman and I are watching Seinfeld's series called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  Our favorite episode so far is with Brian Regan.  I never heard of Brian Regan before, but now he's one of my best friends. The premise of this show is a good one, but where are the women comedians, Jer?

Nextly,  there's a new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery called American Cool, with portraits of the 100 coolest Americans.  The curators used 4 points to determine coolitude, which I will now share with you via a bulleted list:

  1. Original work with distinctive style
  2. Rebelliousness, or transgressiveness
  3. Icon status
  4. Cultural Legacy
You only need to have 3 of the 4 to be in the exhibit, and I've decided I have 1, 2, and 4 and am, thusly, cool.  

And last but not least, there is a problem with a creative installation by Tony Matelli over at Wellesley College. Some of the peeps don't like Matelli's sculpture, called Sleepwalker.  I think it's okay, so it stays, Wellesley.    

It's a wrap.  Thursday Creativity Share.  

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

I need a large latte now.

Tr:  Ani tsrikha latte gadol akhshuv.
Great coffee shop writing day.  I even had time to write a one sentence story which you can read below:

"This day's going to be weird," said Sierra as she walked to Starbucks carrying the capuchin monkey she had just bought for ten bucks from the young woman on the corner. 

The need to know part of this story is this:  Capuchins don't make good pets.  Don't buy exotic animals if at all possible. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Bad but not terrible

Tr:  Rah, aval lo norah.

Today my mood lightened up considerably.  I'm back in the swing. So, long story short---no need to avoid vacations.  You just need to know that it takes awhile to get back into the work groove after a vacation.  Don't panic and remember to set the timer for short intervals.

Here's another thing you need to know.  We have a dear friend by the name of Sam Quinones who is a journalist and an author and he was on PBS NEWSHOUR yesterday talking about heroin and prescription drug abuse.  These things are horrible, so please avoid both, if you can.  Sam is brilliant on the show and his new book on the topic should be out by the end of 2014 I think.  Husbandman and I are extremely proud of our pal Sam.  #OnANeedtoKnowBasisBloggingChallenge readers, you need to know him as well, if you don't already know him.

Monday, February 03, 2014

I'm having a hard time with Hebrew, but I want to learn.

Yesh li zman kasheh im Ivrit, aval ani rotsah lilmod.

Michael Broodthaers

Let's get the Monday Writing Report (MWR) out of the way.  After my glorious time in Brussels, Aachen and Bruges, I'm having a hard time getting back into the writing project. I frittered all yesterday away.  Today I procrastinated throughout the morning.  After awhile I got into a negative frame of mind saying to no one in particular, "I'll never finish this." and "I suck" and "Why am I writing this stupid thing?  No one wants to read about this."  

At that point, I knew I wasn't moving in a good direction, so I decided to ask the internets about how I could make myself do something I didn't want to do. The internets told me stuff I already knew, like to use my timer and take small actions.  So I set the timer for small bits of time and got a little done, which is better than getting nothing done. 

And this leads me to the important conclusion for #OnANeedtoKnowBasis #BloggingChallenge. This is what people need to know. When you go on vacation, you should still work every day of your vacation on your project. Otherwise, you will just waste more time when you get home and try to get back into your project.  Better yet, don't take a vacation. Just keep working all the time.  That way, your brain never gets out of work mode and you'll be more productive.  Work every day until you die.  You need to know this because otherwise you'll go on vacations and you'll have bad working days when you get home, like I did today. I'm trying to help you.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

I don't have many problems.

Tr:  Ein li harbe be'ayot.

I love this gal's hair so much.
Why can't my hair be springy?

We are home again and I'm glad to report that I'm participating in a February blog challenge created by Miscellaneous Missives.  Join in if you want. It should be fun.

It's about what people of all ages need to know.  I'm sub-titling this challenge "On a Need to Know Basis." Lots of potential for blog topics with this theme.  Add your own need-to-knows in the comments if you feel like it.

After seeing 12 Years a Slave, (very intense, very good, see it if you want) Husbandman and I wondered how many African Americans were free in the 1800s like Solomon Northrup?  Turns out there were quite a lot.  By the civil war time, 10% of African Americans (about half a million people) living in the U.S. were free and over half of these people lived in the south, mostly in cities. There were actually free black people in the U.S. from day one in the 1600's.  Pass this article along to anyone who you feels needs to know the complexities of our history, which is everybody.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Let's go.

Tr: Bo nelech.

We are in the Brussels airport.  A bunch of people at a nearby gate are going to Yaounde.  I have never heard of this place, and I blame my country's educational system for this deficit in my geographical knowledge.

There's an empty gate nearby and Husbandman and I are tempted to go use the microphone to make some playful announcements.  One announcement that could be fun would go something like this:

Airport passengers.  There is now an additional 20 Euro charge for all flights leaving Brussels within the next 2 hours.  If you are interested in boarding your flight, please bring 20 Euros in cash right away to Gate 38B.  We can not accept credit cards at this time.

Back to Haifa today, our home away from home.  Farewell, Belgium.  You're really doing a great job from what I can see.

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...