Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Then and Now

Just under five years ago, I took this photo of the elm tree in the front yard of our building.

Tree canopy

Several months ago, the tree had to be cut back severely because of disease. Branches were rotting from the inside, causing a significant risk of injury to passersby. It was sad to see the tree cut down so drastically, but it was necessary.

Still, there is hope. The tree's growth is coming back dramatically:

Five years later

Maybe there will even be seeds next spring – which means that the local parakeet community will come to eat them, and maybe I’ll even get to take pictures of them.

Hey, a girl can hope.

A New Look

Actually, it was Elisson who inspired me.

I’d been thinking about it for a long time, and today I decided to buckle down and do it. This evening, I finally upgraded to Blogger’s new template system and chose a new template for my blog. It took quite a bit of work, but now it’s done. Ta-da!

So... how do you like my new look?

There will probably be other changes, since not only does this system make them fairly easy to do, but I can also navigate the CSS in the template pretty well. I figure that I’ll take a few days to go through my photos, and then I’ll choose one of them as the background image.

And then, who knows? I may change the image again at some point to fit the season, an upcoming holiday, or my mood on a particular day. Or I may change the color scheme. Or the template. Or anything I darn well please, as often as I like, simply because I can.

Or maybe not. I’ll see how I feel.

After all, this is my own tiny little corner of the Internet.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Play Ball!

Who needs the World Cup championships when I can watch Hadi playing ball?

Mine. All mine.

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Little Blogger Makes the Big Time

I remember the day I took this photo very well.

Facing the women's section

I was on a bus coming from a tour of the City of David the Passover before last. My traveling companion was an American woman who needed directions, and since I wasn’t pressed for time that day, I offered to guide her to the next leg of her journey.

The full blog post about that ride is here.

I was infuriated to see that security guards were enforcing segregation on the bus, which has not been designated as a segregated bus. I kept my camera out and took some photos, which I published both on this blog and on my Flickr page.

Some weeks ago, I got a phone call from a writer at The Jewish Daily Forward asking permission to use a photo of mine for a story that he was writing about segregated buses in Israel. I said, “Sure,” and named my fee. He agreed, and the photo is running in today’s edition—on the front page!

The article is here.

Tiny little blogger makes the big time. I like the sound of that!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More Citizen Activism (or, The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Shekel)

If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s paying for something and then not getting what I paid for.

About a week and a half ago, I was heading to work from downtown when I needed to use the bathroom. Just across the street, I saw one of the coin-operated bathrooms that the Jerusalem municipality installed recently, and decided to use it.

Automatic toilet

The “Vacant” light was on...

The "vacant" light is on

... so I paid my shekel and pulled the door, which wouldn’t open. I pushed the refund button, but my shekel didn’t come back.

By now I was pretty annoyed. I called the municipality’s hotline and complained, and eventually, after quite a runaround, I managed to speak with the head of the sanitation department. Unlike the others I had spoken to, he was understanding and accommodating—even when I asked for my shekel back on the grounds that the municipality gets enough of my money in taxes every year.

And so, several days later, we met near the parking lot of my workplace, and he handed me two shekels: one to make up for the one that I had lost, and a second one for the woman who had tried to use the automatic bathroom as I was speaking to the municipality people, and had inserted her shekel before I could reach her.

One shekel

Since I don’t know who the woman is, I donated that shekel to charity. I put the other one toward a small bag of chocolates that I shared at the office.

Citizen activism: it pays!

Some Pics from the Weekend

Last Thursday night, my group, Et Al, had a gig up north in Kiryat Tivon, a gorgeous suburb of Haifa.

The gig went fantastically—I think it was our best one yet. I spent the night at my friend Joanna’s, and early Friday afternoon, we headed to Mifgash ha-Steak, an excellent, reasonably-priced kosher grill restaurant in Herzliya’s hi-tech zone, for lunch.

We ordered Middle Eastern salads for appetizers. I’m sorry I forgot to take pictures of them when they arrived. They were varied, colorful and delicious. I didn’t count how many of them there were, but there were a lot. We had great fun sampling each one.

And then came the meal we had ordered: the mixed grill for two.

Meat meal

It was heavenly. We couldn’t finish it. The only suggestion that I would make to the management would be to include two lamb chops instead of one, since it’s not easy to split one lamb chop between two people. I can᾿t imagine that it would increase the cost by all that much, and I’d be willing to pay it.

Then came dessert. I usually don’t order dessert when I eat out, but this time I did. I asked for one scoop of raspberry sorbet and ordered Turkish coffee, which is said to aid digestion. By the end of this meal, I needed all the help I could get!

End of the meal

Then, we drove to the nearby marina to get a look at the sea and the boats. This boat appears to be a navy vessel:

Military boat

Then we saw something a bit more connected to land: a magnificent, gleaming Harley-Davidson motorcycle:

A Harley at the marina

At home, I was greeted by a praying mantis resting on a newspaper that was sticking out of a mail slot:

Praying mantis

Then it was back home for Shabbat and rest. In all, an excellent weekend.

Just Nine Tenths? I Think Not

It would seem that recently, Hadi has learned one important word:

Hadi and her toys 4


The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Around and About

A metal gate at the Mahane Yehuda open-air market:

Metal gate

Open drainage holes in a Haredi neighborhood. According to one resident, the local residents opened them in order to prevent children from using the area as a soccer pitch.

Open drainage holes

The light rail tracks from one angle...

Light rail tracks

... and from another.

Still under construction

World news: in Hungarian, English, French, Romanian and Amharic.

World news

Construction across the street from Jerusalem’s central bus station. I believe that it is for the new train station at the International Convention Center, for the fast train to Tel Aviv that we’re supposed to get one of these years.


Temporarily Detained

So... I’m leaving for work, and...

Temporarily detained

“Umm... Your Ladyship, I have to get to work.”

“I know.”

“Sweetie, I can’t go to work with your head on my foot.”

“I know.”

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


(With apologies to Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Dionne Warwick)

What do you get when you kiss a cat?
You get enough fur to sew a blanket,
And for a week, you’ll sit and yank it—
I’ll... never kiss a cat again....
(Don’t believe me!)
I’ll... never kiss a cat again!

“That’s silly, Rahel.”

Looking up

You’re right, Your Ladyship. It’s very silly.

“But it’s cute.”

Thank you, Hadi. Gimme five!

“Sure, as long as you give me a bellyrub.”

Gimme five!

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.