Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Chapters

View from Apartment Window
Toronto weather's not great, to be honest. But on the good side, our apartment is located right downtown and I very much enjoy an urban setting. I took a couple of rainy walks today and have scoped out my future haunts for the next 5 weeks -- some fine coffee shops, an incredible museum and a very fabulous book store.

I found this book store and was entering cheerily when I noticed a sign on the door that said the book store is closing at the end of May. I literally went from cheer to drear in a matter of seconds.  I hate when book stores close.  I feel so guilty for buying so many e-books. Why can't we have e-books and book stores living side by side in harmony?  There's got to be a way.

On a side note, the linked article about the book store closing said they were trying to find new positions for their employees.  I hope they're sincere about this because one time I worked at a book store and it was sold to another company and my boss said the new company was going to hire all of us and the new company did not hire us.  So I lost my job and that was a big fat drag.  Good luck, book store employees.  I wish you well.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Good bye, with love

Tr:  Lehitraot, be'ahava.

We're about 19 hours away from our flight to Canada.  Canada, I don't want to freak you out, and certainly don't stress about it, but you've got some big shoes to fill.  Israel has been a dream come true this year.  We will miss the ridiculously friendly people, the beautiful scenery, the incredible history.  We thank you Israel and we hope to return sooner, rather than later.
I'm having some traveling anxiety, but we're going to see a movie in a couple of hours and that will help. Then we hope to sleep soundly and approach the new day with gusto and possibly even some gumption.

In the immortal words of my cool Nana, "We shall see," said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Tr:  Maher!

Feeling kind of anxious about our move.  In 48 hours we'll be on the plane.  Instead of working on my To Do list, I decided to write the following short story:

It was clear as day on the x-ray.  A small crab was living inside her stomach and it had made a small home there with detritus from her digestive tract.  All these months she had repeatedly told her doctor that she felt like something was pinching her inside.  “Turns out you were right on the money,” chuckled the doctor as they stared at the x-ray.  “This guy’s actually a pretty good size. Unbelievable.”  The crab seemed to be greeting them both, posing with his front claw jauntily held aloft.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Tr:  Khamesh

This is a day for packing and getting organized.  And so it is on this day that I find myself thinking quite a bit about the Dionne Quintuplets.  I did not know about these gals until this very week.  They were born in 1934 in Canada and soon after their birth, the government took them away from their parents and put them in a nursery where millions of people paid to watch them playing in their garden each day.  Their nursery was eventually nicknamed Quint Land and it was quite the tourist attraction.  When they were 10, they went back with their parents and other siblings.  Their parents were not the best parents and the Dionne 5 were not treated kindly.  They left home when they turned 18. 

The sisters had miserable childhoods.  Two sisters are still alive today. Did you know about the Dionne sisters? This story is truly bad news bears.  I've learned to tamp down my ridiculous fascination with multiples now.  It leads to no good at all. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Magic Words

Tr:  Milot Hakesamim

Time for Thursday Creativity Share.  Gather round, peeps.

Today's POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY!!!!!  It's one of my favorite days of all.  If you don't have a poem you can pick one up in a pocket right over here.  Don't delay, get your poem today.  My Poem is The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry.  Good friend Cynthia sent it to me once when I was in a bad mood, and it cheered me considerably.

Here's more creativity that I found this morning that I quite like. Erin Nations has a zine about triplets which gets a solid 5 on the fist of 5.  Here's a sample that you will enjoy.  I spent a ton of time looking through her other cool work on her website Novelty Knees.  Her fictional personal ads are top notch.

Last but not least (by any means) is the new Matisse Cut Outs exhibit in London.  Don't you think we should head over to London this summer to see this?  We owe it to Matisse who has given us so much. Matisse, we honor you.  We really do. And we will try to make it to London if we can.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Pocket Poems, Zany Zine, Matisse Masterworks.  Another victory.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Tr:  Hazilu!

Woke up this morning with a hankering for some science.  I read this article about a guy who has made a microscope with a 3D printer that people can use to do science.  The microscope costs 50 cents to make and 20 minutes to make.  As part of a recent application process, people were asked to share how they will use the microscope.  If I myself owned this microscope, I would look at my blood every day. 

I’m going to suggest that someone start working on a 3D printer telescope because now I really want one of those. Get on it, SCIENTISTS!  I hereby cast down the gauntlet.  It would be great for viewing  birds as well as stars or planets.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shodo Is Coming

Tr:  Shodo Mitekarev!

I have spent a lot of time this past week translating a book written for young children called Shodo Mitakarev, or Shodo is Coming. 

Come to find out, it’s about some witches who fear that a monster by the name of Shodo is coming from the desert to eat them.  They make a magic soup to turn Shodo into a block of cheese (I’m not 100% positive about the block of cheese bit).  Shodo comes to town and they throw their smelly soup on him and he runs back to the desert crying for his mom, like a pathetic coward.  The witches laugh uncontrollably and literally roll on the floor.  Shodo is never heard from again.  

Sure it’s an awesome tale, but I probably spent 4 to 5 hours working on translating Shodo this week. I couldn’t stop myself. It was like I was cracking the DaVinci Code. There's part of me that's desperate to go buy more books in this series for my last week here. I obviously need to get back to my job where I don’t make choices and my time is a lot more structured. In short, people, I need to get back to work and get my brain back in the game. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Desert

Ha Me'edbar (I think).

St. George's Monastery
Have returned from 2 days in the desert with K and J.  I've always kind of liked the desert in theory, but a year in Host Country has turned me into Desert's Official # 1 Super Fan.
We drove around to amazing views, hiked to pools, stayed at the most wonderful inn, hiked out into the desert to watch the sunset and saw 6 amazing birds which I will now list thusly:  European Roller, Flamingo, Black Winged Stilt, Egyptian Vulture, Jordan Sparrow, Tristram's Starling.  In short, our final trip of the year was a resounding success, thanks to our friends' all round awesomeness.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Tr:  Shabbat

Thursday we bopped around Acco with hometown homey One Woman and her pal D.  We had a great time in the ancient city of Acco, visiting the fortress and the modern art museum, having lunch on the beach, wine and chat in our apartment, dinner at kind of a hippie restaurant in Haifa. As we walked along Louis Promenade taking pictures of Haifa port, Julie said, "I'm jealous of your life here."  I replied, "I also am jealous of my life here."  What I'm getting at is that this magical life is going away really soon and I've found I quite enjoy living with a total lack of responsibility.  I'm really taking nonchalance to whole new levels during these final few weeks in beautiful Host Country.

Yesterday we went to the Rothschild Gardens with our good friend G.  The gardens are incredibly beautiful.  Then we hiked to some extremely cool ruins that were a couple of thousand years old.  Then we hiked down hill for a couple of hours.  Beautiful views all the way down and some huge bovines on the path as well.  We were smart about leaving one car at the end of the hike and one at the beginning.  Come to find out though, we couldn't find our car when we got to where we thought we had left it.  We searched for about 30 minutes and G was getting stressed.  He didn't realize that Husbandman and I have looked for lost cars for nearly 2 hours before, in the middle of the snowy night in subfreezing temps.  In order to save the day, I split off and started running around the streets looking for our green car.  While looking for the car I found a wallet on a bus bench.  I really did not want to find this lost wallet at this point because I figured I had my own problems, but I picked it up and kept on with the hunt.  Then I found the car, which was a moment of glory.  Once settled into the air conditioning I did some sleuthing about the wallet owner.  I found her on Facebook after careful photographic scrutiny.  I wrote to her but got no reply.  I don't like leaving this mystery unsolved.  There could be trouble afoot. We may never know.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

Tr:  Yom Himashi Creativity Share

I quite like this picture I took in Acco.
Yesterday was busy, so I am catching up with Thursday Creativity Share on this day right here and right now.

First off we have something called Tapigami.  It's all about making art using masking tape.  This art form was created by a gentleman who is commonly called Danny Scheible.  I taught a kid with that last name once so I'm wondering if they could be related somehow.

Next we have Kronos Quartet having their 40th Birthday this year.  Kronos Quartet is the best string quartet in history.  I've known Kronos Quartet for a long time because my oldest pal has been their manager for 30 years.  Their office is in San Francisco and I used to teach first grade a few blocks away, so I would frequently hang out in their offices in the evenings waiting for Janet to finish up so we could go out for a drink, so you could say we're on pretty close terms, KQ and I.  I've also been lucky enough to see them perform many times over the years.  Always amazing.  I have a hankering to see them again soon.  So I hope I can talk them into coming to IU next year.

There's a documentary about bears coming out this month.  Narrated by John C. Reilly.  Looks pretty good. Bears are pretty interesting, when you stop to think about them.

I'm reading a documentary novel called No Crystal Stair about Lewis Michaux, the owner of the African National Memorial Bookstore in Harlem for 40 years.  Not quite done with it, but I'm giving it a 5 on the fist of 5 at this point.

Last but not least, our wonderful landlady made us dinner tonight.  Matzoh Brei. She just showed up with dinner for us, out of the blue.  If you have a lot of matzoh hanging around your house as we do, you might want to try making this great dish.  I've never had it before, but I'm hoping to make it part of my future Passovers from this day forward. It's a comfort food for sure.

So let's see.  We've got a new art form with tape, a fabulous quartet, some documentaries, and a recipe.  I've obviously made up for a late entry.  Another awesome array of creative classics.  Brava!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Yom Revee-ee

Our Seder meal with Koby and his fam was truly sababa.  Koby brought a Haggadah that had English and Hebrew so that Husbandman and I could join in with the reading.  The food was all taim meod (very tasty) and I ate so much I thought Husbandman was going to have carry me out.  Koby's parents are 2 of the nicest peeps on the planet.  We always feel so welcome in their home.  At the end of the night everyone signed the Hagaddah and gave it to us as a keepsake.  This year's been filled with so many sababa memories and this evening will top the list.  Toda Raba, Khaverim.  I think Khaverim means friends.  I hope it does.

My Hebrew is not good, but practicing Hebrew every day has been extremely fun for me this year.  Though I'm obsessed with a little kid book I bought called Shodo's Coming.  It's written in Hebrew and I'm trying to translate it.  It's pretty hard going. I actually thought I would know more of the words.

Swam in the Sea known as Mediterranean yesterday. A bit chilly, but we got the job done.  Today a friend from home is coming to visit.  I have a few things to show her, but mostly I just want to talk all day.

I wrote this yesterday, but I'm posting it today.  FYI.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Tr:  Yom Sheni

Tonight is the night when we go to our friends' home and have a Seder meal.  Tonight is when Passover begins.

For the next week, shops and restaurants don't sell bread or pasta or cereal.  Don't worry, we've stocked up.  The cool thing is this.  The restaurants create new "kosher for Passover" menus.  Yesterday I got a preview of this menu at local coffee shop and ate a kind of cheesy pastry that was delicious.  Way to be creative, Restauranteurs.

We have 15 more days here in Host Country.  Husbandman is working very hard on his projects.  I've taken a different approach which involves not working at all.  Reveling in the glory of time off.  Driving down to the beach every day.  In short, kicking back, enjoying the sun and the sea.

I worked hard on the writing project this year, and now the project is out of my hands.  I actually could be doing some more work on it, or I could work on other projects I brought along with me, but enough already. Let's not beat a dead horse. A stitch in time saves nine.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My hebrew is bad.

Tr:  HaIvrit sheli garua meod.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

This is a slide show I made about some creative aspirations that I've been thinking about lately.

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...