Thursday, July 31, 2008

TT - 13 Things I haven't packed yet

It's midnight on Wednesday here. The kids and I leave tomorrow night to fly to the States for a month-long visit. Here are just 13 of the many things which have yet to make it into a suitcase (notice, Mother in Israel, that I didn't say "the suitcase", it's just not gonna happen...):

1. My shoes, various pairs (sandals, sneakers, water shoes for boating, dressier sandals, crocs...)

2. Books for the kids

3. Maya's favorite toys (keeping those out until the last minute)

4. DVD player

5. Laptop

6. Camera and lenses

7. Bathing suits (oh damn, I forgot to wash them! Be right back!)

8. A sweatshirt

9. Toiletries

10. Empty water bottles to fill after we pass security

11. Itai's jeans (need to wash those too - he needed them for a play he was in tonight)

12. Maya's pajamas (have to go throw those in the dryer right now)

and last but not least, since it wouldn't be an Around the Island family trip without some kind of last minute medical emergency:

13. Loratidine for Itai - to stop the allergic reaction he just developed tonight on day NINE of penicillin. He broke out in a rash from head to toe right at bedtime. Since I've got major life-threatening drug allergies myself we didn't take any chances and ordered a doctor's home visit immediately. The doctor showed up at 10 o'clock tonight and examined Itai right in his bed - while he slept! Since I'd already had a phone consult with a doctor (love that supplemental insurance) and was pretty confident of what was happening I was clever enough (patting self on back) to make sure that the doctor arrived with a few samples of the correct medicine to save me a trip to the all-night pharmacy. I ground up the pill and dissolved it in a bit of water (it's time to teach Itai to swallow pills) and woke him up just long enough to drink it down. He'll get another dose tomorrow night and should then be fine to travel, but I'll have a stash of additional pills just in case. Never a dull moment around here. One of my children is ALWAYS, and I do mean always, sick right before a major international trip. Still, it could have been a lot worse. My own penicillin allergy put me in the hospital for a full week with a very rare and severe reaction that even today causes doctors to gasp.

I'd better get to bed now. The workers will be arriving at 5am (oh how I wish I was kidding) to finish the work on the roof and I still have a slew of packing (not to mention working) to do tomorrow.

Have a great Thursday everyone, and I'll be around to visit as soon as I can.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WW - Mother Nature's Self-Defense Mechanism

Click to embiggen for the full effect - these suckers are nasty looking!

No idea what this is, but it lines several of the boulevards in my town. Not exactly warm and cuddly now, is it?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - Kitchen Aid

I'm still deep in leavingonvacationnotatallreadyyet hell so I thought this would be a good time to pull out this photo I shot a few weeks ago and hop on the Ruby Tuesday bandwagon. It's been sitting in my photo file just waiting for the right opportunity to shine. I love it's shiny retro feel and the upward looking angle of the shot.

Where the Magic Happens

As a bonus for my regular readers, in the background is the infamous green cruet of spilled olive oil fame, which, together with the red cruet behind it coordinated so beautifully with my dishes. Luckily I just got a call this morning that the housewares store down the road has managed to find me a replacement. Now I just need to find the time to go get it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Packing explanation

This got too long for a comment, which obviously means I talk too much...

I'm not moving, sorry for the confusion. The kids and I are going to be spending the month of August at my parents' place in New England. Jay can't get away for the whole month so I'm going over earlier with the kids - leaving the house at 3am for two back-to-back international flights - Tel Aviv-Rome (4 hours), a 3.5 hour layover, then Rome-Boston (another 8.5 hours), followed by a two hour drive. I liked it SO much better when they lived in NY - one non-stop flight, a short hop by car and you're there. I must admit it cracks me up when people worry and fret about flying with two parents and a single child on a two-hour domestic hop. Our total travel time will be about 24 straight hours and will involve two international flights, three countries, and a two hour car journey. Oh, and airport security and baggage checks and all of that too. On Alitalia, which is not exactly known for being overly punctual or hassle-free. Yes, we'll be traveling with several different forms of electronic entertainment, since not only do we have crappy flights none of the planes we're taking in either direction have personal video screens, which would have made this mom and her two kids (did I mention I'm traveling alone?) VERY happy. At least we ordered the tickets long enough ago that we beat the fair increases and actually got an excellent deal. Jay is a champ at scoring cheap airline tickets.

Re the packing itself, I would normally start the day before too, but my cleaner will be here all day so I won't really have the space - I tend to seriously spread out as I pack. I know, I know, sort of an oxymoron isn't it. (Or should that just be the second half of the word LOL?). To compound things, I have an insane day Wednesday and won't really be home at all, which left me with just today and tomorrow.

Fun fun fun...

I would happily give up a kidney for one of those Star Trek Beam Me Up Scotty thingamajigs.

Where's the damn packing fairy when you need her?

Stupid little bug has flitted off to parts unknown just when I need her help. We're leaving in 3.5 days (middle of the night Thursday) and I've got a to-do list as long as my arm. Posts are likely to be short and sweet this week.

Replacing nose firmly to grindstone now.

Trying Twitter instead

My Plurk account has been stuck for eight hours now. I'm disgusted and rapidly losing interest. I've decided to try out Twitter for now and I'll decide which one to stay with later. I'm RobinTA there too, and I put the widget into my sidebar to make it easier to follow me.

So who's on Twitter?

Phyllis and anymommy, I know you guys are. The rest of you guys let me know and I'll come follow along.

Of course now that I've spent half the night trying to get Plurk to work and now Twitter it's suddenly nearly 1:30 in the morning. I really MUST stop screwing around and get to bed. Morning is going to come much too soon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

When I Grow Up (plus I've done a dangerous thing)

Conversation with Maya last night as I put her to bed:
M: When I grow up I'm going to be a Princess, and Itai is going to be my Prince.
Me: Ok sweetheart. What about mommy and daddy?
M: Mommy, you are going to be my Queen, and Daddy is going to be my King. (Yay! We're included. Do I get a crown, and a fancy robe? 'Cause I'd really dig one of those fancy robes. The crowns seem a bit heavy though, I think I'd rather have a tiara. I'm more of a tiara type. *laughs hysterically until she chokes at the mere thought of herself wearing a tiara*)
Me: That would be fun. Goodnight Princess Maya.
M: NO Mommy, NOT Princess Maya. Right now I'm just REGULAR Maya. When I'm a GROWNUP THEN I will be Princess Maya.
Me: Ok dear. When you're a grownup. Goodnight.
Probably a good thing she's waiting, I'm not sure this is the royal look most kingdoms would choose for their princess:

PS I've done a dangerous thing, considering my disastrously poor track record with time-sinks, but I've gone ahead and joined Plurk. I'm RobinTA. I haven't the faintest idea what I'm supposed to do with it, but Claudia invited me to join and I figured what the heck. So come, please, join, or follow me, or plurk, or whatever the hell it is you're supposed to do there so that I don't remain a pathetic friendless wonder. Please? Pretty please? With sugar on top?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What if...

... pigs really could fly? (Would they have to use radar to avoid other air traffic?)

... hell did freeze over? (How would we know?)

... the world really was flat? (Where would the edge be? Would California actually fall into the sea?)

... my grandmother really did have wheels? (Would she in fact have been a trolley car? Where would the passengers sit?)

... someone really did cut off their nose to spite their face? (Wouldn't it leave a gaping bloody hole? Yuck.)

... there really were green men from Mars? (What color would the women be?)

... a watched pot never actually boiled? (Would be all have to cook our pasta blindfolded?)

... all those lurkers actually left a comment and said hello. (We might just say hello back, and give a (virtual) smile, and from there who knows what lovely things could happen.)

What's your what if?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

TT - More Randomosity

My brain is fried and full of all the inevitable minutiae that pile up before a major trip so you're getting another random brain dump this week.

1. I am not going to lose weight if I end up eating the leftover crusts of my daughter's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

2. I can't help it - they're on Jay's delicious homemade bread and are oh so good.

3. We're loving the new juicer, and Jay's even developed a way to turn the leftover mush into really good veggie burgers.

4. He's a pretty handy guy to have around :).

5. Tomorrow a good friend is throwing herself a big 40th birthday bash.

6. I promised to bake a peach cobbler to bring with me.

7. Which means I need to buy peaches tomorrow (and eggs and a few other assorted thing).

8. But I want to get my hair colored in the morning (can anyone say "major skunk stripe going on"?).

9. So I'll have to bake after that.

10. And I promised the kids I'd take them to the pool in the afternoon.

11. Which means that my spiffy professionally blown-out hair will not make it until evening.

12. Drat.

13. Oh well, it's too hot to leave it down anyway.

Happy Thursday everyone, hope it's a great one.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WFMW - Cleaning Up Spilled Oil

Next time you're faced with cleaning up a ridiculous amount of heavy sticky olive oil mixed in with large pieces of broken ceramic cruet (oh wait, that was just me, hopefully your spills are smaller and easier to deal with), try using very hot water.

Step one - banish all small children (and pets too if you've got 'em) before they can begin tracking oil all over the house.

Step two - (Carefully!!) pouring boiling water on the area you need to clean lifts the oil up off the surface and makes it a lot easier to wipe up with a rag. Once you've gotten most of the oil up you can go over things with the cleanser of your choice.

Step three - go to the housewares store and try to get them to sell you just one half of the matched set of cruets.


Stop by Rocks in my Dryer to see what's working for everyone else this week.

WW - Ladder to Nowhere

Visit Wordless Wednesday to see what other people aren't saying.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Life in the shadows - sometimes it's what you don't see


"Life in the Shadows"

Sometimes what's most striking is what you don't see.
The absense of light creates its own reality.

I've been feeling pulled in quite a few directions lately, creatively speaking, and it's painfully obvious in my scattered unfocused umm, eclectic, yes, let's go with that, my eclectic recent blog content. If you visited one day you might be utterly certain that this was a photography blog, on another day just as certain that it was a straightforward momblog, or perhaps it's a writing blog, or maybe a "mom to a special needs child" blog, or is it an expat blog, and hey, wait a minute, didn't I see a few recipes in here as well, maybe it's a food blog (no, it's not. At least not most of the time. Sorry.)
Because this blog IS, in fact, above all else a reflection of my life, it turns out that that's what you get. A hodge-podge. A mish-mash. A big gigantic mess. An assortment. A variety. A melange. A... (Ok, ok, I'll shut up now with the images. No need to run from the room screaming.)
It accompanies me on my path. Sometimes it follows, like when I talk about my life here in Israel or about my challenges and triumphs in parenting two very different but utterly wonderful kids. Other times it walks alongside, for example when I share a recipe for chicken in green curry sauce or no-knead-beer-bread. And there are times when it actually leads me, like when I actively search for subject matter for writing prompts or photography projects.
I don't always, or even often, know what is hanging out there in the shadows of my mind, waiting to be set free. What wanted to be said yesterday may not want to be said tomorrow. Sometimes I post of my challenges with Maya (which I might mention are fewer at the moment if I weren't so afraid of tempting the fates, so I won't. Nope, even this faint whisper was too much. The Fates were tempted and everything went to hell. 'Nuff said.) so that I can wrap myself in this larger community of "parents who understand" while other times it feels too raw, too exposed. Sometimes it's the muses who need to be heard, to tell the mother to go put her feet up for a bit and curl up with a good book and a cute umbrella drink while they take over the shop for a while. The only problem there is that the writing muse and the photography muse don't always play nicely together, with each one feeling like they should have the starring role, the queen of the blog, so to speak. We've been learning to share our toys nicely, some days more successfully than others, so you may start seeing more of their combined efforts in the days to come. On the other hand, you may not.

You'll just have to come by each day and see for yourselves who won that morning's catfight.

The photo Plant in Shadow has been removed from this post as it has been accepted for publication elsewhere.

These photos, and the words which they then called into being, are my response to the Matinee Muse prompt "life in the shadows". I love the fact that this new site (which grew out of the former Writers Island in more ways than one, as it's the creation of Writers Island's Rob's own son) has launched itself as a "creativity" prompt, encouraging submissions in a variety of media. Some days it's the words that come almost of their own volition, tripping over each other in their hurry to be heard, while other days it's the images which cry out to be seen. And sometimes, on very lucky days, it's both.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Project Black's Last Gasp

Anna Carson's Project Black is wrapping up today. (Well yesterday actually, but it's today here in Israel. Go figure.) I haven't had to look very far for my other project black entries but I have to admit that today's is scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit. It's been a great project though - both shooting my own photos and seeing everyone else's. I'm really looking forward to seeing what she's got for us in September.

This shot shows a common scene in my house - the strap of my ginormous and somewhat battered black bag hanging haphazardly over a dining room chair. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this bag. It's gorgeous, and was a very special gift from a dear friend who put quite a lot of thought into getting me the perfect bag, but it's HUGE. Don't get me wrong, I love big bags, and I love this bag. It's terrific when I've got a lactation consult and have all sorts of things to shlep but for everyday use it ventures over to the dark side (the "dark" side, for project "black". Get it? I crack myself up sometimes.) and becomes The Black Hole of All Bags. I can put something in there and not find it again for weeks. Months even. Still, it's a great bag, especially when I'm shlepping all of my own crap plus all of the kids crap. Unfortunately though it's starting to show some pretty serious wear. It's going to make one last trip to the States, where I will hopefully be able to find a replacement I can love, and then it's off to that great closet in the sky. Unless I can't find/afford a really great new one, in which case it may limp along for a while longer. You just never know...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Modern Spaghetti

One more for Project Black...

I've been doing more writing and less shooting the past few days (can't neglect one muse at the expense of the other for too long or they begin getting touchy. Wouldn't want to start a catfight inside my head. There's enough chaos going on in there already...) but something about this view from the back side of my laptop really appealed. Using the physical back of the machine as a sort of a metaphorical sneak peak into the workings of my blog. You'll either like it or think I'm insane. Either is equally acceptable.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Magic of Tel Aviv

Everyone always asks me what it's like to live in Israel. Bearing in mind that my experience is both secular and very Tel Aviv-centric and obviously quite different from others at the other end of the spectrum or the country, this article from the NY Times travel section sums it up better than I ever could. We don't live right in the city but we're close enough that my husband rides his bike to work in Tel Aviv each morning, and we can get right downtown within 20 minutes (45 at rush hour).

Summer in Tel Aviv. There's nothing quite like it anywhere in the world.


Friday, July 18, 2008

The Heat Wave

It was so hot. So damn hot. She couldn't believe that her air conditioner was STILL broken. Freakin' cheap landlord. What a pit this place was. She couldn't wait until she'd saved up enough to move somewhere decent, a place like she used to have before her boyfriend skipped town with her best friend and most of her worldly possessions, not to mention all of the money in their joint account.

But she hadn't managed that yet, so for now she was stuck here in this dump. A third-floor walk-up without a working air conditioner in the middle of a July heat wave that was breaking every record on the book. 104 degrees in Manhattan, a real day to remember. She peeled herself off the couch and headed for the kitchen for another glass of iced tea. Maybe this time she'd try pouring the damn drink right over her head, maybe that would cool her off for a few minutes.

She took a long swig from the glass and headed back to the couch. She was right in the middle of a really good book, one of those mysteries that just suck you in and don't let you go until you've turned over the last page. Good thing too, because it was too hot to do much else. She was finally getting to the climax of the book, about to find out who in fact had killed the host of a popular cooking show right in the middle of a live taping. The clues were pointing towards a member of the audience with a grudge against the well-known chef, but her money was on the writer who'd been slighted one too many times.

She was so engrossed in her book that she almost didn't hear the doorbell ring. She put the book down again and peeled herself off the couch with an aggravated sigh.

The doorbell rang again.

Okay, okay, I'm coming, keep your shirt on. You better not be a door to door salesman. I mean it, that would really piss me off right now.

She unlocked the front door, thinking as she did that she probably should have checked the peephole first.

She opened the door and gasped as if she'd seen a ghost. You! But, but, but, but you're dead! You died! I saw you die! What the hell?

Before she could utter another word a shot rang out. Her last thought as she died was that she'd never know who killed the tv chef...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TT - Ice Cream Toppings, Bottomings and Next To's

Image courtesy of Stock Food

No, bottomings is probably not a word, but what would you call it...

Here are 13 classics to dress up your favorite scoop:


1. Hot fudge sauce!
2. Hot butterscotch sauce
3. Whipped cream
4. Sprinkles
5. Homemade berry syrup (blueberry, rasberry, strawberry...)
6. And of course the proverbial cherry on the top

Bottomings (there's that word again):

7. Brownies
8. Waffle cone
9. Sugar cone
10. Waffle
11. Chocolate chip cookie
12. Vanilla wafers


13. A banana of course!

So, how many of you are now planning on ice cream for dessert (or even for breakfast) today?

Visit the Thursday Thirteen hub to see what everyone else is counting this week.

WW - Fig on Tree

...and it was delicious.

Visit Wordless Wednesday to see what other people aren't saying

WFMW - When Citronella Candles Go Bad

Here's a tip I just learned last night:

If you have a citronella candle that has burned down, do not under any circumstances attempt to refill it with citronella oil when a replacement candle proves impossible to find. If you do, it will burn just fine the first few times but once the wick has burned down (impossible to see while it's burning) it will suddenly erupt into a towering inferno of flame at least 18 inches high! When your friend panics and pours hot water from the kettle on it (BAD idea - never ever pour water on an oil fire!) it will sizzle and spatter like a thing possessed. Once the flame is finally put out, you will still have boiling oil, that remains quite literally boiling for over an hour afterwards. And then, when it's all over, you will be left with this:

And believe me, you don't want that.

Stop by Rocks in My Dryer for more helpful hints.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Through the Lens, Assignment 2 - White Balance

Assignment 2 for Hallie's Through the Lens digital photography course is white balance. I was really glad to see she'd chosen this, since white balance was one of those topics I'd read about but still couldn't quite wrap my brain around. A day of playing around with the white balance setting on my camera was just what I needed. All of the photos in the collage were shot with the same settings. (Shutter speed 1/500, F11, ISO 200, focal length 34mm - no, there is no special reason for these settings, this is what the camera chose in auto mode so I went with it. I'm still learning how to shoot in full manual mode. Ask me again at the end of the course.) The only difference between the shots is the white balance. Pretty wild when you look at them altogether like that, isn't it.

The tree is a clementine tree that's growing in a planter on my roof. Not hugely photogenic this time of year, but what it lacked in grace and composition it made up for in availability.

Hallie's assignment had actually called for keeping the white balance (and all the other settings) the same and then shooting the same image numerous times over the course of the day. I think Israeli summer sun must be a lot stronger and more consistent than Connecticut summer sun because when I tried that I didn't get a lot of variation in my shots so I went with the varying white balance you saw above.

The other thing that I learned is that the automatic white balance on the D40 is pretty good. It was rare that I found an adjustment I preferred over what the camera selected. (This of course may also reflect the fact that I'm still not very skilled in shooting in full manual mode, if I were fine tuning the rest of it more precisely I might find that I wanted to play more with white balance too.)

The second half of the assignment was to shoot with a white balance that you feel is correct for the lighting. This one, of a palm tree growing in front of my building, was taken in late afternoon full sunlight. The first picture was taken in auto mode. If I'd stopped here I'd have thought it was a fairly good shot.

This one was taken with the white balance set for "direct sunlight" (no additional +/- correction). You can see that the greens are much more vivid and the sky is a much richer blue. The first shot suddenly looks washed out by comparison.

So that's Assignment 2 for me. Thanks again Hallie, this was great. I'm already looking forward to the next one.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Words and images vie for equal time.
I was going to sit out today's Project Black to give my
words a chance to shine before they were knocked off the top of the page, but when I took these photos this morning I knew it wasn't to be. It couldn't be helped, they were just crying out to be included in the project. Humor the words too though, if you will. Enjoy the pictures below, and then take a moment to read the words which preceeded them, for they contain the essence of my very being, the fitting conclusion to years of soul searching. Aw heck, just click over there and see for yourselves.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bacon, bringing home and frying thereof

As a child of the seventies, I was brought up on one of the greatest myths of the twentieth century - the Super Woman. I was taught from the earliest age that I could grow up to be anything I wanted, that all doors were open. That it would be no problem to bring home that bacon, fry it up in that pan, and all the while make sure my husband knew well that he was the man.

There was only one problem.

They lied.

They lied through their teeth.

"They" told a generation of young girls - told us - that we could grow up and have it all. You could be a high-powered career woman. You could work hard and aspire to the good life. You could be a wife and a mother. You just couldn't do all of them at the same time. Something had to be sacrificed, compromises had to be made, pieces of your soul had to be sold off.

I did everything I was supposed to do. I finished high school. Went away to college. Earned a degree. Met a boy. (Not in that order.) Got a good job. Wanted a better job. Went back to school. Earned a masters. Got a better job. Sacrificed a great deal of free time on the alter of career development. Worked nights. Worked weekends. Travelled on business. Often. Long trips to difficult places. Furthered my career. Developed a specialty. Became known for that specialty. I was what some might call a success. A minor success I admit, I was still young, but with great promise.

And then, somewhere around my thirtieth birthday, after nearly ten years of marriage, I realized that I was ready for children. More than ready.

And I panicked.

How could I possibly fit children into this high pressure lifestyle, into these 60-hour work weeks? How could I turn my back on the career I'd worked so hard to achieve?

How could I not?

My whole life I had been taught that I could grow up and have it all, but no one had ever told me how I could have it all. How on earth was I supposed to fit it all in? How could I manage?

It wasn't possible. It wasn't FAIR. How could I, we all, have been sold this bill of goods? By what right did they lie to us all these years?

To say I took it hard would be an understatement. A very big one. Months of months of existential angst.

Perhaps I was predestined to take this hard. After all, I grew up in a professionally successful, well educated family. Both of my parents had graduate degrees from an Ivy League school, my mother earning hers once she had two school-aged children of her own. It was always taken for granted that I would go to a good college, taken for granted that I would do well there and taken for granted that I would then go on to get a good job in the field of my choice. It was also taken for granted that somewhere along the way I would meet Mr. Right, get married, and have children. I internalized all these expectations and made them my own. There was a brief but quite successful rebellious period in high school, but it was still assumed that I would pull myself out of that and return to my "real" life before managing to veer seriously off course. Ever the dutiful daughter (well, other than those high school years), I did.

I agonized for years over the right time to actually fulfill this destiny and have children. Finally, after much soul searching and long discussions with my unbelievably patient husband, I decided that really the only thing to do was close my eyes and leap, trusting that something was down there to cushion my fall.

I got lucky, it was. In fact, I struck working mom gold - I was able to reach a deal with my company to move down to part-time after my son was born. I stopped travelling, stopped working nights and weekends, and began spending a significant portion of my life away from work. I found myself so enthralled with my child and motherhood that each hour we were separated was too much, and by the time my daughter arrived a few years later I was more than ready to walk away from the career track. Unforeseen circumstances kept me at home for nearly a year, and at the end of that year was able to get myself hired for a new position - a part-time, work-at-home, low key, low stress position, and one that I hold to this day.

I never would have thought that I would be content with a small job working on a very small piece of the puzzle - no glamor, no glory, nevermind that I would find even those minor demands on my time an intrusion but yet here I am today. I never did figure out how to be Super Woman; instead I found out something infinitely more important - how to be the best me that I can be - a mother, a wife, an employee, and any of the thousand other hats I wear on a day to day basis. Not the perfect wife and mother, far from it, but the best one that I am able to be. Others will define their best differently, but at the end of the day that's exactly what those choices they gave us way back when were all about. It is not the freedom to follow every path, but rather the freedom to choose and follow our own.

I just wish they'd been a little bit clearer on the whole prioritizing thing. Could've saved me years of anguish, but nevermind, I figured it out for myself in the end.

I can't be Super Woman, but I can do my very best at being Super Me, and that's pretty darn good.

This essay has been submitted to Scribbit's July Write-Away contest, on the subject of Wonder Woman.

Mosaic Tile

A jet black stone to set off the rest
For my regular readers wondering where all the words have gone do not lose hope, I've got plenty of them in various stages of completion waiting to be posted, perhaps even as soon as later today. Oh and if you were curious (and even if you weren't), the stone tiles shown here are from my master bathroom. The mosaic strip runs at chest height around three walls, including right through the glassed off shower. On the fourth wall there is a large mirror set directly into the wall which is "framed" by the same mosaic strip. It looks fantastic but the angles make it difficult to photograph so you'll just have to use your imaginations.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The key to my blog

For this week's Rockin' Chair Writers prompt Brian says “If your blog is your home show us around.”
The first step in showing you around is of course opening the door. The key you see above is actually the key to my roof (I live in a penthouse in an urban suburb of Tel Aviv), not my front door, but it worked better for Project Black than the front door did, so let's just go with it, shall we.
The kitchen island, pictured in my blog header, looks remarkably like the one where I fed my children breakfast a few moments ago. Oh wait, it IS the one where I fed my children breakfast a few moments ago. Fancy that.
The rest of my blog home also looks quite like my actual home - reasonably well done up but not designer-perfect, a bit chaotic, more than a bit eclectic, prancing fancifully from one interest to another without a clear pattern or flow, a bit messy but comfy and well lived-in, little bits of interest here and there, and full of love and good times.
There are essays, and other essays, and photos, and lists, and a few recipes, occasional puff pieces, and all of the other bits of flotsam and jetsam that find their way through my brain to my keyboard, some more successfully than others. Grab a cup of coffee from the pot in the kitchen or from the pitcher of iced coffee in the fridge if you prefer that on this hot summer's day, help yourself to some of Jay's homemade bread, fresh out of the oven, and take some time to look around. You never know what you might find, but there's always an open spot on the couch (or the rocking chair or stool or heck even the floor when it gets crowded) and a welcome to join in the conversation. Kick off your shoes and join in.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Project Black - Day 1


Anna Carson's got her new photo project up - and it's black!

TT - Raw V8 Juice

Huh? Has Robin finally fallen off her rocker? Raw V8 juice is a Thursday Thirteen? Is she NUTS?

It is in fact true (which part read on and decide for yourselves).

Why on earth am I looking at recipes for raw V8 juice? I'll tell you...

It all started a week or two ago when my husband decided that his life, and his incessant craving for carrot juice, would not be complete without owning our very own juicer. After doing some research an order was placed over a popular internet shopping site and we sat back to await our juicer. And we waited. And we waited. And still we waited. (Turns out the supplier ran out and had to get a rush shipment in from Australia.)

Well tonight The Juicer finally arrived. The first thing we tried was apple juice. Very tasty, but we didn't spend *cough cough* money on a juicer just for apple juice. Next up was carrot juice, at which point I was able to confirm my inherent dislike of plain carrot juice. I was trying to figure out what type of exotic juice I might be able to enjoy from the juicer (because really, if all I wanted was apple or orange juice it wouldn't have been necessary now, would it?) when it hit me. I used to like to drink V8 on occasion, but they don't sell it here in Israel. If I could figure out what was in it, I could make my own! Off I went to research.

I soon found that most V8 recipes call for cooking the ingredients, which may be fine but doesn't make good use of the awfully expensive juicer my husband just bought. Back to the drawing board...

I finally found it - a recipe for V8 juice that uses a juicer - perfect! Even better, it has thirteen ingredients, so perfect for this week's thirteen. (And more to the point I didn't have any better ideas, so...)

So here you go:

Raw V8 Juice


1) 6 medium-sized carrots
2) 1 small beet (wash well)
3) 3 large tomatoes
4) 1 bag baby spinach
5) 1/4 head fresh cabbage
6) 1 red bell pepper
7) 1 green bell pepper
8) 3 stalks celery
9) 1/4 sweet onion
10) 1/2 clove garlic
11) A few kale leaves (go easy)
12) Chili pepper or Tabasco sauce to taste
13) Salt to taste

Juice the vegetables all together and add salt to taste.


(I hope I will. I actually can't stand raw tomatoes, so I'm really hoping that the other veggies and spices overpower that awful raw tomato taste!)

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

WW - Maya

. .

WFMW - Baby wipes in the car

Here's my tip for the week - always, and I mean ALWAYS, keep a package of wipes in the trunk of your car, even if your children are long past diaper age. Oh, and a change of clothes for each kid, a large bottle of water or two and a few extra plastic bags too.

Don't ask me why I know this, take it from me, you don't want to know. Just learn from my mistakes and find yourself well prepared when disaster strikes.

Trust me on this one.

Stop by Rocks in my Dryer to see what's working for everyone else this week.

Monday, July 7, 2008


That's how many birthdays I have had.

Some were more memorable than others - the pool party at age 4, the year the dog ate the rollerskate birthday cake my mother spent hours making (and that was only the start of what went wrong that year), the surprise party at age thirty that found me gaping slack-jawed at a restaurant table full of friends in utter confusion (I always was a bit slow on the uptake). A lot of birthdays. Thirty-nine. Far fewer than some but more than many, with many more hopefully to come.


I'm supposed to feel panicked at the impending demise of even the last few fleeting illusions of youth (most of which have already fled for parts unknown along with my girlish figure).

I don't feel panicked. Actually, I feel pretty good. Thirty-eight had its ups and downs, just as every other year has - some of the lows stomach-plungingly low but ultimately balanced out by highs which made my heart soar in joy.

I feel more balanced as I embark on this journey that will be thirty-nine. More aware that a number is just that - a number. It isn't a state of mind or a burden if I don't let it become one. I find that I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin with the passing years. Less enthralled with the outer packaging perhaps, but more able to recognize that for the wrapping paper that it is while the real me continues to grow and thrive. Confident in my likes and dislikes, in my abilities and strengths, and knowledgeable and accepting of my faults, for without them I would not be me. Proud of the woman I have become.

The kind of woman who is confident enough in her choices to stand up and say "yes, I went to see Air Supply in concert last Saturday night and I LOVED it." (And apparently so did thousands of other people too - the venue was PACKED with smiling people singing along to all their old favorites, the way you would slip on a favorite old sweater on a cold winter's night. I felt so vindicated.) The kind of woman who can admit that she used to own Air Supply's Lost in Love album, long before she discovered the Grateful Dead (and followed them up and down the East Coast) but long after discovering the Doors and Meat Loaf and Peter Paul and Mary. Yes, that's me. I paved my own path even back then. Hey, it could have been worse. It could have been the Bee Gees.

It's all good. And it will be even better tonight when I'm surrounded by gifts and cake the love of my family as we welcome thirty-nine together.

Bring it on thirty-nine. I'm ready.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Paper flower in painted pot

I was messing around with the camera this morning (making sure my newly repaired zoom lens works again) and took this picture. I really liked the combination of the rich colors on the pot contrasted with the almost glowing light behind. I'd like it a lot better without that ugly black stripe green leaf sticking out of the pot, but I didn't want to start disassembling Maya's art project and wasn't able to successfully clone it out. Oh well, I still like the shot. Without flaws we wouldn't know beauty, right? (God help us, she's waxing philosophical today - run for your lives!)
It is a good metaphor for life though, isn't it? Without an appreciation of adversity we couldn't really value our triumphs or recognize the love and beauty around us for what they are. Isn't joy all the more poignant when compared to its absence? A happy ending weighed against a fate narrowly avoided?
Goodness this is heavy for a workday morning. Enough psychobabble, time to get back to work.
Actually, not quite back to work yet. It just occurred to me that this little mental romp of mine suits the final Writers Island prompt of gratitude quite well. Off to go link up one last time... Thanks again Rob, our time on the island has been wonderful, but as with all tropical adventures the time must eventually come to leave the island and return to the shore.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lessons Learned

A young boy
running through the desert

Chasing tumbleweeds
and lizards

An azure sky

Harsh sunlight
unbroken by clouds

Sticks and rocks and
strange looking bugs

Running, chasing, seeking

Look mom, I'm walking backwards




A chance encounter with a cactus teaches caution

Thursday, July 3, 2008

TT - Randomosity

1. I have no theme whatsoever this week.

2. I could have done more Shakespearean insults or crazy holidays, but I'm feeling like that's been done enough.

3. Summer colors would have been cool, but that's a lot of work. Maybe next week.

4. Same for summer recipes.

5. I'm starting to collect photos for a particularly unique TT, but it will take a while until I've got 13.

6. Jay's finally feeling better and we celebrated by getting out to hear some great music tonight.

7. We also got the sitter for next Monday so that I can enter the final year of my thirties in style.

8. Yes, that means I'm turning 39.

9. I'm surprisingly okay with that.

10. I'm planning to take the kids to the pool tomorrow.

11. The pool has a giant inflatable slide that they put straight into the water.

12. Itai loves it, and I think Maya's going to give it a try this week too. She was already done swimming by the time we found out that little ones with water wings are allowed down as long as there is a grownup in the pool to catch them.

13. I'm going to an outdoor concert Saturday night with a girlfriend - real early eighties easy listening kitsch. No, I don't think I'll admit who, but I'm embarrassingly excited about seeing them.

So that's it, my non-themed thirteen. Hope it gave you a smile and encourages you to share some news of your own in comments.

Visit the Thursday Thirteen hub to see what everyone else is counting this week.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

WW - Ribbon on Stick

Visit Wordless Wednesday to see what other people aren't saying

WFMW - Perfect, and Perfectly Simple, Asparagus

It's another "five ingredients or less" WFMW at Rocks in My Dryer this week, so what better to share than this amazing, and amazingly simple, asparagus recipe. It was so good that half the dish never even made it to the table! My husband and I couldn't keep our hands off it and devoured the lion's share straight out of the bowl while I finished cooking dinner. Even better, it can be served either warm or at room temperature, so there's no last minute rush.
Since this dish is so simple it's worth using the very best quality ingredients you can find.
1 bunch of very fresh asparagus
2 Tbl freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbl high quality olive oil
2 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste (preferably sea salt and freshly ground pepper)
  1. Put up a pot of water to boil.
  2. Wash asparagus and snap off the tougher bottom bit of the stalk. Don't worry, it will break naturally at the right spot.
  3. Cut into 2-inch (5cm) pieces.
  4. Boil for just two minutes.
  5. Toss cooked asparagus with all the other ingredients.
  6. Try not to eat it all before you sit down to dinner.
That's it. Couldn't be easier.
Tip: Store fresh asparagus upright in the fridge in a container of water to keep them fresher longer.
I don't remember where I came across this recipe, but if anyone out there does let me know and I'll be happy to give credit where it's due. The photo is mine - those very asparagus are going to be prepared this way and consumed very soon. Tonight for dinner, or if I can't help myself this afternoon for my lunch - where I will scarf them all down by myself without having to share. So there!