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How to Spend Shelter Time Well

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After being woken up by Code Red alarms at night, the next one came during my lunch time. We were ordered to stay in the shelters for an undetermined period, and because I had a late lunch break to start with and I was hungry, this is what happened:

2014-08-20 12.14.47a slice of pizza, a cup of apple juice, and a good book. I had just bought Steiner Kristóf’s book on iTunes ten minutes before the alarm, so I spent the next 30 minutes starting to read it. I had bought his first book when it came out, and I loved it. Unfortunately the other day I left it at Cofix (the place with the NIS 5 coffee and sandwiches–that’s like $1.45 for US folks) and when my sister called they said they couldn’t find it. Luckily, Kevin is in Budapest, and he found the book sold by one online shop. He ordered it, and he was told that it would be there by Thursday. Then an hour later he got a call that they were out of it, and the book is out of print, and sorry. 🙁 Kevin had bought the two other books as well, but he told me, “Go ahead, buy them in e-book, because it will be a while before the kids are finished with them.” So I bought the only one I haven’t read, and now I’m spending my shelter time becoming a reader again.

7 Quick Takes — 33 — Adoption, TBBT, Food

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— 1 —

In my post about Autism and I, I mentioned that I was a difficult person. Jon commented that he didn’t think I was difficult, and that reminded me of something that happened before the madness in Israel began.

Kevin and I were trying to catch up on The Big Bang Theory. I hate to admit, but I’m a season and half behind. 🙁 We were a few episodes into our marathon, when I remarked how much I loved Leonard, who is my favourite TBBT character. Kevin replied, “I’m glad, because I am Leonard to your Sheldon.” It made me laugh, because it’s very true. While I’d like to think I’m not as difficult as Sheldon, it is true that I can be difficult to live with.

— 2 —

8d132aab-154d-4016-b183-1a7b9d4c373c_profileYou know adoption is close to my heart. I follow the adventures of other adoptive families, and the Rieben family is currently in the process of bringing three older boys (ages 5, 12 and 12) home from Bulgaria. Adopting not one, but three kids at the same time is costly, and they have started a new fundraiser to help with those costs. The dad is currently in country for the first trip, which means their boys would likely be home in 4 to 6 months!

I already participated in their fun fundraiser, and so have my two internationall adopted 5-year-olds. Join us to help the boys get home! It’s easy, and while the Riebens have an FSP, there is a way to contribute without the involvement of any grant organizations. Click here to find out more!

— 3 —

That, in turn, reminds me of another recent conversation, this time with Jill. I’m sure every adoptive parent has seen at least one post online what not to ask/tell adoptive parents. On top of the list is never to ask them how much their kids cost. While it’s not the most appropriate question, it usually doesn’t upset me. I either give a detailed list of costs from adoption fees to tuition, lunch money, swimming lessons etc, or let my internationally adopted daughter answer. Her standard answer? “I was free, but the process cost $37 000.”

— 4 —

For some odd reason this week I have been talking about how to prepare food more than I normally would. From chicken steak to challah pudding to tahini based desserts I have been discussing recipes and how to’s. I even joked about writing a cookbook, with vague measurements. But then I already have writing projects that are taking forever to finish, plus most of my food doesn’t photograph well (though tastes really good).

So what are your favourite dishes to fix? I am actually looking for a favourite spice mix for roast beef that you put together, and doesn’t involve canned or powdered soups. I am willing to share how I make steaks/chicken steak that is better than what I get at some of the nice restaurants here. I’m not even kidding. Also, yam/sweet potato recipes are welcome. I hate the stuff most of the time, but I’m willing to give it a try, because my family like it. Are they the same thing, anyway?

— 5 —

We had a 72 hour ceasefire that Hamas broke after 70 hours. They broke another one before that. Currently we should have one, but there have been rockets.

Seriously, when will this finally end?

Click to view it full size.

— 6 —

I liked his dramatic roles better than most of his comedic ones. Awakenings, Dead Poets Society, and Good Morning Vietnam are three of the limited number of movies I actually own on DVD. One of the three Disney movies we have is Aladdin. And before Harel Skaat, Robin Williams was, and forever is, Peter Pan.

Since his passing I’ve heard and read several stories from friends meeting him. In all of these stories the common thread was his kindness and humanity.

Now I wonder, as tragic as his death is, will it further his legacy? I feel like many people who don’t understand depression suddenly realize that if the funniest man on earth could be depressed, maybe it’s more than just attitude, more than just trusting G-d.

And now, the Westboro Baptist Church sealed it: Robin Williams was a great man, a man worthy to be seen as the enemy of those whose whole world, belief and life is built on hate.

Rest in peace, Mr. Robin Williams.

— 7 —

Shabbat Shalom! This is my last Shabbat before my kids and Kevin come home! I really miss them all. Life can be too quiet even if it means lack of sleep for the rest of the year! In September I’ll have another long weekend, and we are planning a quick trip to the Dead Sea during those three days. I can’t wait to be all muddy!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes — 32

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— 1 —

We had a wonderful two and a half (or 3/4?) days of ceasefire. It ended a few hours before the 72 hours were up, and it was ended by two rockets fired from Gaza to Israel. Apparently this time it's the Islamic Jihad. Since Hamas is in control of Gaza, I truly think it makes no difference: Hamas is responsible for everything coming from the land controlled by them. It was so close to getting back to normal, but it goes on. While Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, there isn't much change for the residents of the South, and they rightfully feel abandoned by our government, when once again we declare victory, only to allow Hamas to recover and rebuild…not the houses and schools and hospitals, but their rocket arsenal and tunnels.

— 2 —

Last night I did something big. Well, big for me. I went to Harel Skaat's concert all by myself. That is something I normally just don't do, it is too out of my comfort zone and too different from my routine. But since Mr. Skaat's birthday, and I am pretty much all alone, I decided to go. It was a brilliant concert as usual. I somehow ended up in line to meet him and wish him a happy birthday, and somehow that line turned into going to an all night burger place (by myself) and staying out way too late.

So…Happy birthday Mr. Skaat!

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— 3 —

 

— 4 —

The Priest's Wife has been advocating for avoiding cheap. Chinese products for a number of reasons. (I'll include a link as soon as I get on my laptop.) While she has some very valid points, I have done some eBay shopping from China and Hong Kong. One seller was selling knitting needles and crochet hooks for very reasonable prices. I contacted them, because I wanted the package to be sent directly to the volunteer organization of the hospital where I have taught some girls and boys to crochet. A local vendor donated some yarn, and I wanted to get the needles and hooks. He and I worked it out, and then I was surprised to see that instead of the free Economy International Shipping option he upgraded my shipping to the Express shipping free. I was already grateful for this gesture, but today I got a text from one of the volunteers at the hospital that the package arrived and, in addition to the two crochet hook sets and one knitting needle set, there were two additional sets of both, some mixed beads and charms, flexible thread and clasps for jewelery. Some of these things will go to other hospitals or activities provided by the organization.

— 5 —

I've been crafting. Yes, still cold porcelain.

I need to find some good sealer/varnish to waterproof it, and then I can plant my little palm “tree” in it.

— 6 —

My garden is pretty much dead. While our house sitters tried to resurrect it, the neglect from the last few weeks has really taken its toll on my poor straw bale garden! I think the root vegetables and some of our peas will make it, and everything we put in planters and pots will, too, but our beans and berries and celery sticks and flowers are beyond help. Maybe next year we won't have a war killing my garden.

— 7 —

Shabbat shalom! And once wgain, happy birthday to Harel Skaat!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

 

 

 

7 Quick Takes — 31 More “Gaza War”, Coffee and Sillyness.

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— 1 —

 

Reading foreign news reports, I have found that Operation Protective Edge is now often referred to as the “Gaza war”. I find that a little bit strange, because, well, it’s a conflict with military participation, but seriously, the word “war” freaks me out. All of my siblings have war experience, with the Second Lebanon War, and my dad served in every war since the Six Day War (yes, even the Second Lebanon War, even though he was nearing retirement age), but me, no.

The continuing conflict is taking a toll on me, because of the lack of sleep, mostly. And while I whine here about not sleeping well, I am amazed by residents of teh South, who carry on despite much, much worse circumstances than what I experience here, in my little Tel Aviv bubble. Going for coffee, or to the beach, or even just doing my grocery shopping are luxuries not everyone can afford now, because the Hamas attacks are ongoing. There is now a bitter joke about how ceasefire means we cease, Gazans fire… and that eventually Hamas will turn to the UN to complain that the Iron Dome takes down their rockets even during ceasefires. The sad thing is, as things go, that could happen. Hamas fired rockets at their own people, and now blame Israel for the deaths and damage.

— 2 —

The past two weeks I saw Kevin twice, the second being yesteday/today. It was good to have him home for a night before he leaves to joining our kids in Europe for two weeks. Or three the most. I mean if they can stay, why miss August 20?I wish I could have gone with them. I was also going to participate in a craft fair, but then things changed. I am so frateful for the ceasefire, and I do hope it lasts the 72 hours, because it’s one less thing to worry about as they fly. I will be alone for the next two weeks so I’m going to spend these two weeks in the city.

ETA: The ceasefire lasted all of two hours. Wonderful. Not.

— 3 —

After really having to convince my local coffee place’s barista that I’ve already gotten a coffee free, and it should be Hamas paying not the company, I was given a jar of luxury instant coffee as a gift by one of the soldiers I work with. So now we are making fun coffee creations using whatever we have on hand. I made some chocolate sauce flavoured with green almond extract that is popular. I just love that we can create designer coffee from pennies with an electric kettle and a frappé whisk. We are creative.

I experimented more with the cold porcelain. I opted to use food colouring instead of acrilyc paint for the most recent batch. Acrylic kept ruining my plastic bowls, food colouring washes off. If i make individual batches, I add the food colouring to the glue at the start of the process, but if I colour smaller batches, I re-heat the cold porcelain in the microwave, and work in the colour as well as more corn flour. The only negatives I found was that the colour transfers on my hand, but the same thing happened with tempera paint and one if my acrilycs.

— 5 —

I’m pretty clumsy and I luck artistic ability, but here is what I just made:

Once he dries, I need to sandpaper it to get rid of the colours that were transfered by my hand, and then paint the eye (which I kinda didn’t do right anyway). Still, I’m quite happy with it.
There are several books that are mostly about working with polymer clay, but the ideas and techniques presented in them would work with cold porcelain, too. The only thing you have to remember is that cold porcelain air dries, and it shrinks a bit, so do not bake it.
Here are some of my recommendations:

The Polymer Clay Techniques Book
Creating Lifelike Figures in Polymer Clay: Tools and Techniques for Sculpting Realistic Figures
Complete Book of Polymer Clay, The

— 6 —

Coming over to my rental in Tel Aviv, I picked up some books to read. This is one of my favourite summer readings:

The title translates as “We and They” from Hungarian, and it’s the third in a series of books by Italian journalist and novelist Brunella Gasperini. All three books are about the same, slightly dysfunctional but very funny and very real family, presented from the point of view of different members of the family: the first book is from the father’s, the second is from the mother’s, and the third one is from the youngest daughter’s POV. It’s a brilliant series, but it seems to be unknown in the English speaking world. To be honest, I think it is unknown outside of Italy and Hungary. I read the whole series most every summer, so now, between sirens, I’m reading on the balcony, with one of my iced coffee creations. All of asudden, life is a bit better. The bitter sweet message present throughout the series remind me that we aren’t all that different today than the people were in the sixties, when this book was written.

— 7 —

 

Shabbat shalom! Tonight we are praying for peace, here, in Syria, in the world. Tonight we are praying for the Jews of Paris and the displaced Christians of Mosul and the people of Gaza and Israel. Tonight we are lighting candles, breaking the chalah, drink the wine, and pray for the soldiers kidnapped during today’s brief ceasefire and for the families of the 61 dead IDF soldiers.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Your Kid is in Gaza…

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Every time I read/hear about IDF fatalities in Gaza, my heart skips a beat. I immediately start searching for names. Names of friends, names of family members…

If anything ever happens to “my” boy, I’ll find it out from the news or from the official internal communications. While he has a bedroom and a family who claim him as one of them, technically he is a lone soldier, without any family. His bio parents, who abandoned him, would be notified before us.

Every news report has me worried for my son’s boyfriend, for nephews and nieces, for the numerous lone soldiers, who have spent their days off in our guest room, for Kevin, for my BIL and now for my foster son.

So every day, I read the names of Israel’s fallen soldiers, and pray for them, their families, and for my boys.

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