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Going Offline

30 Sep

I was napping this afternoon when I woke with the sudden realization that tomorrow our internet service ends. Yikes! Time for one more post before we leave Israel. I don’t have anything deep or profound to say. Only that I will miss living in this region much more than I’d ever dreamed I would. I’m hoping that my previous posts attest to all the reasons why. Add these recent experiences to the list:

After my early morning visit to the Israeli govt. vet to get the paperwork signed and stamped for Baxter and Lulu, I met up with my friend Anne K, who lives nearby. She treated me to breakfast at a cafe at Ramat HaNadiv, one of the places on my long list of places to visit before we leave Israel. Anne and I met months ago at a Mah Jongg game, something I’ve always considered to be a good omen. We will continue our friendship…and collaboration on a book…after I leave. (photos by Anne and our waiter.)

We had a fabulous breakfast at the cafe at Ramat HaNadiv

Cafe at Ramat HaNadiv

Memorial Garden at Ramat HaNadiv

Brad and I took one more walk along the Med this morning, wading in the water as the tide came in. We’ve just begun to move out of the summer season here and have witnessed some light sprinkles and blustery skies. This view of the mosque, near where we usually access the beach, was particularly engaging this morning.

Sidna Ali Mosque

We had lunch at one of the area’s best restaurants, Segev. I must thank Anne for introducing me to this fab establishment, just minutes from our house in Herzliya Pituach. Everything was delicious and served in inimitable style.

Brad’s serving of Scorched Tuna

My serving of Drum Fish Filet


A Few Of My Favorite Things

26 Sep

Aside from ready access to some of the greatest historical sites in the world and top-notch middle eastern cusine, here are a few of the things I will miss about living in Israel:

The view outside my studio window.

Being able to walk from our house to the shores of the Med in 15 minutes.

Being able to walk down the middle of the highway once a year on Yom Kippur.

The bougainvillea outside my kitchen window.

Predictable weather.

Dancing in the Night

16 Aug

Last night, driving home from the gas station outside Herzliya, our way was blocked by what appeared to be a small parade one block from our house. We managed to see a crowd of people following a small ornately decorated truck from which was blaring lively music. After parking in our garage I walked out to see what all the fuss was about.

Behind the slow moving truck decked out with a gazillion lights, I saw men wearing traditional Jewish broad brimmed black hats dancing about in a circle. They were dancing in front of some other men who were walking in a procession. At the center of the procession was a man cradling a large silver trophy-like  (or scepter-like) ornament in his arms. The trophy/scepter was periodically passed from one man to another. Music was blaring from the truck. Men, women, and children were following the procession but only men were dancing and handling the “trophy/scepter.” Children were waving fluorescent wands. I sensed a feeling of joy and exuberance from everyone. I was grateful no one seemed to mind me taking photos of the procession which continued onto a pedestrian bridge over a highway and into an area where I know there is a synagogue.

I came home and did some research on the internet. I think I’ve figured it out. The item the men were carrying and passing one to the other was a Torah scroll. The “trophy/sceptre”-like item was a case housing the scroll. What I had witnessed was a ceremony know as Hachnasat Sefer Torah which literally means “ushering in the Torah scroll.” So glad I got to catch this glimpse of Jewish ceremony before we move.

Peppino’s Big Adventure

16 Aug

The inscrutable gas pump at Paz gas station in Herzliya

Ever since the gas station at the entrance to Herzliya installed a new machine for self serve pumps—with instructions in Hebrew only—I’ve been obsessed with figuring out how to use them. And not only that. I want to be able to create an info sheet for work that will aid non-Hebrew speaking people in using the machines.

This evening after dinner, I recruited Brad to come with me to the gas station so he could aid me in my mission to take photos of the machine display and figure out how to use the machine. I hadn’t taken into account that it was a Thursday evening and traffic was guaranteed to be heavy. (Thursday is Israel’s Friday.) Plus, I’d let the tank go to nearly empty before setting out on this mission.

My little Fiat Panda, Peppino, didn’t like running on fumes and was not handling stop-and-go traffic very well. He was bucking like a disgruntled bronco. Then, I heard the dreaded beep beep beep signal alerting me to a warning message. “Limited Range” flashed onto my dashboard display. Yikes! Almost out of gas! We crept along in the bumper to bumper traffic as my heart leapt into my mouth. Fortunately we didn’t have far to go and Peppino limped up towards the gas pump.

Just as I’d suspected, even though I’d had two previous goes at it with help from kind strangers, I was having trouble navigating the menu on the touch screen. And, just as I’d suspected, Brad was able to figure it out. So, mission accomplished, we headed home, Peppino now happy with a bellyful of fuel.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

10 Aug

Today I took a walk to the local convenience store to pick up a copy of the Friday newspaper. It’s become a ritual for us since we moved to Israel—to get the Friday paper. The Friday paper is like the Sunday paper back home (though a lot thinner over here!). It’s the one with event and cultural listings, supplementary magazines, and TV guide. There are two major English-language newspapers here and we opt for The International Herald Tribune—it’s the international version of The New York Times with the local newspaper supplement the Ha’aretz and, most important of all, the New York Times crossword puzzle.

I decided to bring my camera along with me for the walk, just like I used to do when we first moved here. Back when Herzliya Pituach was unfamiliar territory and I never knew what interesting phenomenon I might come across. Since I now have my own car, and especially since it is so hot out these days, I haven’t been walking through the neighborhood much lately. But I wanted to walk today despite the weather. We will be moving back home shortly (the first week in October) and I’d like to savor the sights in the neighborhood. The incredible lushness of the vegetation, the quirky and sometimes—no oftentimes—over-the-top architecture. And maybe I’d come across a hoopoe or two. Well, no hoopoe sightings today…just scads of hooded crows. I sat for awhile in Vriesland Garden and noticed the palm trees were laden with dates. These are a different kind of date than the medjoul dates I buy in the grocery store. There are plenty of these date palms throughout the Tel Aviv district just like the ones in Vriesland Garden. All simply bursting with dates right now. I wondered last year what the city and municipalities do with all the dates and never found an answer to the question. I’d love to find the answer to that question before we move.

Return of the Gecko

9 Jun

Gotcha! He is not at all happy…but if not for our intervention, Baxter and Lulu would not have been as kind.

A colorful creature…and quite agile. Moments after taking this photo he leapt from Brad’s hand onto the patio with a funny little thudding sound.

Released on the patio. He spent quite a bit of his new-found freedom circling this post.

Last October a little gecko made its way into our living room. Brad was able to scoop him up and put him outside before Baxter or Lulu could cause any damage. Today, while readying the grill for a cookout, we found another gecko on our patio. Baxter and Lulu were eyeing him intently from inside the sliding glass doors. Before we knew it, as we were making our way inside, the little lizard decided to come in with us. Brad scrambled again to capture the critter before Baxter and Lulu could. The gecko was caught and placed back on patio. As I began roasting peppers, I looked for the gecko and he was nowhere to be seen. At least not by human eyes. But a pair of feline eyes knew the gecko was still close at hand. I saw Baxter eyeing a spot just outside the sliding glass doors. I shook my head, thinking the poor cat doesn’t realize the gecko is gone. Wrong! Brad found the gecko back inside the house. Scooped him up again and this time we are pretty sure he is gone for good. Why are we so sure? Baxter and Lulu have given up their post by the sliding glass doors.

A Day in the Life of Baxter and Lulu

1 Apr

Baxter leaves his perch atop the cat tree to check in on Lulu who has been snoozing in a sunbeam.

Baxter's attention is temporarily distracted, perhaps by the bird of paradise blooms in the back yard. Lulu tries to get back to sleep.

Baxter: "Hey, Lulu, wake up!" Lulu: "Ger'off!"

Baxter grooms Lulu.

Baxter grooms Lulu.

Baxter: "Hey, let's play, Lulu!" Lulu tries to ignore the irrepressible Baxter.

Baxter: "Hey, c'mon Lulu" Lulu: "Leave me and my sunbeam alone!"