Archive for the ‘Holidays and other significant occasions’ Category

No, not a scary duck, you muggle

March 3, 2018

Well, the annual Haifa Fantasy and SciFi Con (known as “Dorot”) is over for another year.  It always coincides with Purim, so all the people wearing costumes don’t look out of place at all.

This year I went as a Niffler.


This was actually my victory pose taken by Shoshie after we kicked ass playing Artemis.  We were in the first crew of the day to beat all our opponents and return safely to home spaceport; in fact, we were the first crew of the day who didn’t blow ourselves up.  I was the engineer.  “Increasing energy to the rear shields, Cap’n!”  “Naw, Cap’n, I cannae boost the sensors any more, the engine cannae take it!”  Okay, okay, so I didn’t talk like that, but I was definitely channeling Scotty.  Actually I listened more to the Science Officer (waves to Shoshie) than the Captain, but never mind.  We did lose a few crew members from the DamCon teams (damage control), sadly.  Moment of silence.  But luckily for our safety and survival, most of the damage to the ship was limited to the hull, and not much of the ship’s systems. We did good.

And back to the Niffler.  Making the costume presented some challenges, including the fact that furry material sheds like a…  hm.  Let’s just say that even after vacuuming, I’m finding little bits of black fluff in the oddest places.  I couldn’t find a mask anywhere – not even a duck mask that I could alter – so I cut some eyes out of a large black baseball cap and built the beak onto the cap.  The fur hood covered the rest of the cap.  Originally I put plastic lenses in the eye holes, but I found it was easier to do without them when wearing my glasses.

I always knit a part of my costume.  This year it was the paws.  I used the Innsmouth pattern by Anne-Marie Dunbar, with some obvious modifications, like leaving a hole at each fingertip for the claws.

I also changed the row count, since I was using bulky yarn instead of the aran weight called for.  I kept the stitch count, though, to make a dense fabric to hold the claws securely.

In all, I was very satisfied with my costume.  The only real drawback was the fact that it was an incredibly, extremely, intensely warm day, way too warm for the heavy fur material.  At some point I just had to take it off before I created a scandal and melted into a puddle in the midst of a lecture.  It did get cooler in the evening, but I didn’t bother with transforming back to the Niffler, I just popped over to the many vendor booths and grabbed myself a Hufflepuff beanie to keep my ears warm.

Go, badgers.

Most of the day was spent in lectures (including hearing some fascinating theories about the Jedi prophesy of the Chosen One), admiring others’ cosplay, listening to a troubadour group that sings about science and geekitude, and hanging with friends.

By 10 pm, I was exhausted, so I headed on home, regretfully skipping the Monty Python sing-along.

Until next year.


Yes, I’m back to the blog after a long hiatus.  I have missed blogging ferociously.  I’ve been working like a fiend, and have not had much time for anything – I haven’t blogged or photographed, I’ve barely done any reading or knitting, and all my hours are spent in translating or teaching.  I can’t make any promises about frequency, but I need to be here again.

Rainbows in the breeze

July 3, 2015

Well, it has been an eventful week.  Things crowding on the heels of what went before!

Last Friday was the Pride march in Haifa.  Not nearly as grand as the big march in Tel Aviv earlier in the month, which is on an international scale with well over 100K participants, but nothing to sneeze at either.

The Hebrew text says:

We march to fight for the right to live the lives we want! To love whom we want!  To dress as we wish to!  We march for equality and against discrimination.  We march in solidarity and for the struggles we face around us.  Because a society that respects and values us – gays, lesbians, bi and trans – is a society that is better for everyone.

As an aside, I was glad to note that the American ambassador and his family marched in Tel Aviv with the staff of the Embassy (which flew a giant rainbow flag in support).

Haifa had many local leaders and representatives – including all the liberal political parties and many local businesses – accompanying the 5-10K folks who marched and celebrated.

I missed the gathering at the first meeting point, with the initial speeches, because I can’t really march.  (So sadly I have no pictures of the actual march.)  I went directly to the final destination (carrying my rainbow flag, of course), where there were more speeches and lots of entertainment.

My friend Marina marched with the Progressive Judaism contingent.

(stolen from Marina's facebook wall...sorry M)

(stolen from Marina’s facebook wall…sorry M)

Lots of lovely speakers and MCs




Some folks with very special outfits for the occasion


Love those eyelashes…but that ballgown seemed a wee bit…warm for the Haifa heat?

The singer and personality Margalit Tzan’ani (Margol) joined us with music that had everyone singing and dancing and cheering

Booths with drinks, with bubbles, with rainbow products.


High energy, smiles and laughter, I didn’t see any negativity there at all.  Well done, Haifa!


My only real regret?  It wasn’t until a little later in the afternoon, after everyone had dispersed and gone home, that the SCOTUS ruling was announced.  It would have been nice to have heard it from the stage when we were all together and could celebrate even more for our US friends!  But that’s a subject for the next post…


June 23, 2015

Yesterday was a sad day.

Father’s Day (and the Monday after it) are always a bittersweet time for me.

Twenty-eight years ago, my dad was once again in the hospital following yet another incident with his heart.  Since I was far away on a different continent, I sent a Father’s Day gift well in advance, and my mom baked a cake for him according to my instructions…  She spent that Sunday’s visiting hours with him in the hospital.  I always spoke with him on Father’s Day – they tried to phone me from the hospital, but lines were so busy that day and international reception was not good, and they couldn’t get through (phones in the 80s weren’t quite as sophisticated as they are now).  They decided to try again the next day as soon as my mom got there.

It wasn’t to be.

When my mom arrived at the hospital on Monday, it was to Code Blue.  Dad’s heart had stopped.  She phoned me, told me to get on a plane and come.  A couple of hours later she phoned again to tell me he was gone.

I never got to talk to him for Father’s Day that year.

I got there 48 hours later.  Three flights, one overnight stopover in Germany – at the time, it was the quickest connection.   It was my mother’s birthday.  For years after that, she refused to celebrate it.  It was a week before their wedding anniversary.

This year – 2015 – was only the 4th time since then that the actual dates correspond to the year he died.  For some reason that’s harder, no idea why.   I read all the tributes to fathers online on Sunday, but didn’t add one myself.  I thought about him all day yesterday.

Here’s to you, dad.

high school grad

high school grad



Aunt Mabel's


Dad n me



Carpenter at play


Running to stay in place

April 21, 2015

Time is again moving much too quickly.  Events, experiences, the days just crash and blur and pile up upon each other in an untidy mess.

The vertigo is back.  Not as bad as the episode that put me in the hospital for four days last summer, but enough to disrupt plans and activity.  Because all of the tests that were done in the hospital and since – like CT scans, MRI, Doppler, etc – have been just fine, my doctor sent me to an otoneurologist, a specialist in all kinds of vestibular disorders.  I was lucky enough to get an appointment with the top guy in this field in the country, a professor who has spearheaded the study and treatment of vertigo and other balance dysfunction and dizziness.  So…he was very nice, very serious, asked good (and thorough) questions, and actually listened to my answers.  A rare breed of fellow.

From all the data available, he is pretty sure that we’re talking about MAV – migraine associated vertigo, or vestibular migraines.  The migraine headaches are hitting more often than usual as well.  Still, he has scheduled me for an additional series of tests – VNG, or Videonystagmography.  (Don’t ask me to pronounce that…) That’s in another couple of weeks.  So we’ll see what comes of it.

I had a really nasty bout of cold/flu in the midst of all of it, too.  I was in bed for the whole week preceding Pesach.  It was, I think, only the second time in my life I didn’t make it to Seder, which made me feel very sorry for myself.  I’m not a very… um, pleasant person when I’m sick, and this was enough for me to consider putting up a storm warning sign on the front door.  Niece was worried, sent Partner home from the Seder with a big food package for me, which was really a life-saver.  And I think it was the first time since I’ve had my own place – which is (ahem) quite a while now – that my house and kitchen were not ready for Pesach.  All the Pesach dishes and stuff stayed in the cupboard – I cleared one table for Pesach foods, we used plastic plates and utensils, and got through the week.

The worst part of all?  I wasn’t even up for knitting or reading.   So you can imagine what sort of a grump I was.

So I’m glad that’s behind us, and I’ll tell you soon what I’m up to these days!  If they’ll just slow down, sheesh.

A Year of Sheep

February 19, 2015

As I come up for air and look around…

It’s the beginning of the Chinese New Year today, and in 2015 the Year of the Sheep commences!


May it herald a year  overflowing with yarn goodness, many projects coming off the needles, and joy!

happy new year of sheep


Still looking around.  Hm.  Lotta dust around here.  Must do something about that…

The Roaming Pomegranate

September 25, 2014

There’s an old joke that’s been around for years (even made into a song at one point) that says that Jewish holidays are usually based on three things:

  1. They tried to kill us.
  2. We survived.
  3. Let’s eat.

Food does seem to be central to any kind of celebration.  There are traditional dishes for almost any occasion.  Rosh HaShana is no exception.  Most of the customary food for the new year in the Jewish calendar is sweet, nothing bitter, in order to “ensure” a sweet new year.  (Partner’s father even used to forbid eating the gefilte fish with horseradish on Rosh HaShana, as it was too bitter.)

We dip apples in honey.

We dip challah (sweet egg-bread) in honey.  The challah for the new year is not braided as it usually is for Shabbat and other holidays, but spiraled or round, symbolizing the continuity of Creation, and raisins are often added.

We eat honey cake.  (Well, most do, nobody in our household really likes honey cake that much, so we don’t bother.)

We eat a “new fruit”,  a fruit that has recently come into season but that we have not yet had the opportunity to eat, saying a blessing thanking God for keeping us alive and bringing us to this season.  A pomegranate is often used as this new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot/commandments. I’ve never actually checked this out by cutting open a pomegranate and literally counting the seeds.  I really wonder who did to make the above claim, or why, or how they even thought of it. But I can attest to the fact that there sure are a lot of tangy-sweet seeds in those things.  Another reason given for blessing and eating pomegranates on Rosh HaShana is that we wish that our good deeds in the coming year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate.

So.  At last night’s dinner we dipped our challah

new year challah 75

into honey along with the apples.

sweet new year 75


We saved our pomegranate for dessert – and then ate so much good food that there was no room for dessert.  Oops.  It will be eaten at tonight’s dinner instead.

So I took our pomegranate and started placing it around the house to symbolize a sweet and plentiful new year in many ways.

Catbeast was intrigued.

sny 75 cat

Dogbeast was a little wary of it.

sny 75 dog

And the pomegranate was on the move!

For a sweet year with plenty of work:

sny 75 work

For a sweet year with plenty of reading:

sny 75 books

For a sweet year with plenty of knitting:

sny 75 knitting

For a sweet year with plenty of healthy and tasty food:

sny 75 cooking

For a sweet year with plenty of music:

sny 75 music

For a sweet year with plenty of friends and laughter:

sny 75 friends

For a sweet year with plenty of travel:

sny 75 travel

For a sweet year with plenty of exercise:

sny 75 exercise


For a sweet year with plenty of rest and serenity:

sny 75 rest

And for a sweet new year of peace:

sny 75 peace

L’shana tova, y’all.


In which I begin the year juggling

September 24, 2014

Juggling projects, of course!  Together with life’s little complications.  Let’s see if I can keep it all going in the air, or if one of those little items is going to suddenly fall and smack me on the head…

Is it really too much to ask for one whole day without drama??

Never mind.  I’m on schedule with the Collectively Curiouser, made it to 40% on Sunday.

curiouser 40%

Definitely Space Age Chic.

The Leethal Adventure cowl is 2/3 done, I’m on the third of three skeins and will begin the last section very soon, just a few pattern repeats to go on the center section.

adventureKAL 70%

Can’t wait to lightly block this and really open it up!

Oh, and these two not being enough, I need a special baby gift for a new friend just born in London, so I’m quickly knitting up some MonsterPants.  I’m still at the “pants” part, the “monster” part comes later.

monster front 2


(I can post this now because the new mom is not a fan of internet/blogs, using basically email and skype and that’s about it…)

So.  Three projects that are great to change up, since each has totally different yarn and texture and they provide true variety.

I’m starting my 365 project a day early – even though 5775 (a palindrome year!) only begins tonight, I snapped a few pictures to get me started.  Kidlet had some tests done this morning, so after we left the medical center we stopped to treat ourselves to some chai latte and/or coffee to take home.  I liked this shot, very simple:

shana tova takeout 1

Although I officially chose this next one as today’s picture, since the catbeast decided to photo-bomb my picture.

shana tova takeout

(Oh, we also grabbed some Cinnabuns to go with the drinks, but don’t tell anybody!!!)

shana tova takeout 2


Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy and safe new year!!


A present to myself

August 21, 2014

Birthday blessings abound!

Was awakened by a happy birthday message on my phone at 5am.  (I don’t think the person who sent it realized that it would wake me….whoops)   and then I became aware of a pile of shiny birthday balloons on my bed!

birthday balloons

The catbeast is quite concerned about these balloons.  She sits in the doorway and watches them warily…and when the breeze from the window makes them move she scoots backwards.  Quite funny.  When the breeze sends them bouncing down and out of the room she retreats to a safe perch to observe.

Then I discovered kidlet’s next gift.  She waited until I went to bed last night and then cleaned the house.  As in move-the-furniture-around-and-get-the-dust-bunnies-scrub-the-floor-and-all-surfaces kind of clean.  Cleaned the fridge too.  And I slept on…  She set the dining room table with fruit, tea, and a birthday letter.

birthday table

There were also little happy birthday post-it notes attached around the house, on doors and other items where I would spot them.  Gifts of love, so much more special than possessions.  And much treasured!

The morning surprises were followed by a lazy day.  Reading, knitting.  Birthday wishes flowed in from friends and family from far and wide on various and sundry social media sites, phone calls, text messages.  Deadlines and bureaucracy were put aside for the day.  News and politics muted.  As much as possible.

Got gussied up for a fancy night out.  Partner fretted (as usual) about not being able to take the dog.  We went to a lovely restaurant and splurged, diets forgotten for the evening.  Wine.  Music.  Sparkler on my dessert.  Much laughter…

l'haim 2014

(Came home and kidlet decided she just had to bake brownies.  Much debate about adding white chocolate chips.  Partner and I did a taste test and pronounced them great.  Most are now saved for boyfriend tomorrow…)

And now it’s after midnight, no longer my birthday.  ‘Twas an all-round satisfying day.  I have much to be grateful for.

It has been far too long.  Life has been crazy.   My biggest gift to myself:  a return to my blogging.  I miss it.  I need it.  I want it back.


Happy Thanksgivukkah!

November 28, 2013



This year brings the rare combination of Thanksgiving and the first day of Chanukah.  Pay attention, y’all, because according to the calendar, this won’t happen again until the year 79811.  Yes, 77,000-ish years from now.  That’s what you get when you overlap a solar calendar with a lunar calendar.  And the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000 years.

We didn’t celebrate with a turkey dinner, but we did light candles as usual.  With our family Channukiyah (menorah).   I didn’t bother investing in a Menurkey, a turkey shaped menorah – the idea of Asher Weintraub, a 9-year-old inventor.  As cute as it is, I can’t see the use of paying out cash for something that will be used for one night every 77,000 years.

menurkey 2

On the other hand, it might have been fun lighting a turkey for the occasion.

We had chocolate Chanukah gelt (coins), and kidlet got what she has been bugging me for over the past few months, a panda hat.  (More about the pattern later.)

Panda FO 1


And of course we had the traditional jelly doughnuts – I allowed myself a little one.  (One every year.)


Have a sweet, joyous holiday, my friends, whatever you celebrate!


A bouquet of parsley

August 1, 2013

The wife of a former colleague of mine once told me a story that when they had been married only a short time, he came home from work and suddenly realized that it was their anniversary and that he had totally forgotten to get her anything.  He ran down to their garden to at least “bring” her flowers, but unfortunately there was nothing in bloom that day.  Not one to be easiiy discouraged, he quickly grabbed what he could, and came back inside to present her with….a bouquet of parsley.  (And then to a dinner date at a fancy restaurant…)

I have been so busy I have neglected my blog, and have missed my fourth blogoversary.


No excuse.  I am now planning a belated-blogoversary giveaway, because four years of sharing must be celebrated!  Details will be posted soon!

I’ve been terribly occupied opening my own business, becoming a self-employed businesswoman at a point when others are beginning to contemplate retirement.  So life is… interesting.  And moving way too rapidly.  Time seems to rush by and disappear without stopping to say hello.  (Time can be like that.)


Luckily there is knitting to keep me sane, and all projects will be duly discussed as that pesky time allows.

Hm.  Four years deserves so much more than parsley.  How about a yarn bouquet from Jimmy Beans Wool???

yarn bouquet

Happy August !!