Friday, July 31, 2009

Finally, Some Sun , Fun and Lots of Food

After last night "adventures" (see my previous post), today we've decided we'll put it behind us and try to enjoy my sister's visit as much as posible.

Let the oddysey begin!

Out first stop for the day was at the supermarket, and like any Israelis that respect themselves, we didn't leave until our shoppig cart was overflowing. I didn't buy any food before they came because we are vegetarians and my sister and her son not, so I let her buy for themselves whatever took their fancy.

I told her I don't mind they are meat eaters, but they'll have to cook it if they'll want to eat it.

After the shopping trip we just hang out for a while at home, while the kids were driving us crazy - with Maya it was love at first sight, she's absolutely crazy about my sister and loves her cousin. They've never met before, two years ago when I travelled to Romania, I went by myself, without Tibi or Maya.
In the afternoon, when the sun calmed down a bit, we went to the seaside. It is like a 15 minutes walk from our apartment, and we had a great time there... My sister enjoyed herself building sand castles and I even let her to smoke a cigarette. Again, we don't smoke in our home, for Maya's sake, my husband and I stopped smoking some years ago (me, 9 and Tibi 20) and Darie, my son, who's a smoker is smoking outside the house...
Oh God, I am knackered. Having Roxy (my sister's name is Roxana) here is great, but not an easy job...It odesn't matter, I am so happy I could was dishes all day long without complaining...
I have to go and sleep, sleep, sleep...
See you all sometime...maybe tomorow, maybe on Sunday...
Night night, whoever you are...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Frustrated, Furious and Humiliated

I am so furious I can barely type, my body is shaking and I cannot control my fingers...Do you remember I told you my sister is coming from Romania, to visit us? Well, an hour ago my husband called me from the airport to tell me my sister is been retained at the airport, together with other fellow passengers from the same flight from Romania and that they are questioned by the Interior Ministry. Not long ago, an entry to Israel was possible only if you had a visa (I am talking about Romanian citizens, of course). My mother came here three years ago from Germany and nodoby asked her anything when she got off the plane. My mother was married to a German citizen and she has German citizenship. Clever lady!

It is already 10.00 o'clock in the evening, the plane from Bucharest landed at 8.15 and I still don't know anything about my sister and her son.

Half an hour ago somebody from the Interior Ministry called me to ask me if I am waiting for somebody...duh...I said yes and she started asking me all kind of "tricky" questions in order to find out if the lady sitting near her in an office at the Ben Gurion airport is my sister. After a few questions she said that I am responsible for my sister to return to Romania on the date that it is written on her plane ticket, otherwise there will be consequences. I said of course my sister will return to Romania (who wants to stay in a coutry that welcomes this way its visitor?) and I am prepared to take full responsibility for her. She couldn't help herself and added: "You also, are not of Israeli origin, you married here..." I pretended I didn't understand the hidden meaning of the words and I said: "Yes, I was born in Romania if this is what you're asking...I 've lived here for 10 years and I am an English teacher"...I am not going to linger on this subject because I was humiliated enough in the ten years since I came here, with an open heart...I tried to forget everything and move on and I thought I did that, but this stupid incident reopened old wounds.
And all this because she comes from Romania...Tell me please, how many America, French, English citizens are retained at the Ben Gurion airport and interogated and humiliated? And I mean like regular guys, not terrorists or relatives of Osama bin Laden or serial killers. Only my sister, a piano teacher from Romania that came to visit her sister. Some mata Hari in disguise or... I am really pissed of, so pissed of that I am about to write all about my odyssey to be accpeted here, in Israel.

They let her enter Israel. I talked to her on the phone...She said she never felt so humiliated in her entire life. You know, my sister, teaches piano at the Music Academy in Timisoara, studies for her Ph.D. came to visit her sister in Israel. Stupid me!

O.K. I need to calm down...she'll be here any minute now and I want her to forget the ugly incident and to have fun...After she'll return home, to Romania, I'll tell you a story...
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My Sister, the Vampire

Bad girl / Chica malaImage by . SantiMB . via Flickr

While I am waiting impatiently for my sister to arrive (only five hours to go) I am flooded with childhood memories, memories about my life as a Big Sister.
Until I was seven years old, my life was pretty simple and happy, I was an only child, sorrounded by my family, even if it comprised only by women: my mother, my grandmother and my aunt. They loved me, and I felt secure and safe.
Then, my mother remaried and my sister and two brothers came one after the other, in three years, my mother had three kids. There was an age gap of seven, eight and nine years between me and them, the aliens, the ones that came to take from me all that I held dear. I remember that after my sister was born I was so frustrated that nobody paid attention to me anymore that I tried to play the role of baby myself, taking my sister's bottle and drinking from it...I also remember that she used to suck with such a great hunger from my mother breasts that she almost always drew her blood. I used to cry and confort my mother and say to myself constantly: "I hate her. I hate the vampire".
I had a love/hate relationship with my step-brothers and sister. After they grew a bit I was appointed their unpaid baby sitter, and so went my puberty and adolescence, stuck with them. If I wanted to go out with friends I had to lie because I rarely was allowed to go out, I always had some chores to do. I had to play with them, feed them, take care of them. I hated them so much! On the other hand, I loved them because they were my baby sister and baby brothers and they were sweet kids, even though very-very naughty - the boys, especially the youngest. He was the devil disguised in an angel. And I mean it. I'll tell you about him sometime later. I'll just add now that if something bad happend in the house, it was always him behind the deed. Anyhow, my sister was (as remained) a sweet child, with an optimistic nature, happy and with a huge grin on her face almost all the time. I really loved her even though I was jealous of her, because she was (and still is) my mother's favourite. It hurt a lot when I was a teenager, but I got used to it, I guess and then I just went on with my life and forgot about it. I think that was the reason why I married so young for the first time - I was 19. Back then, in the communist Romania, it was the only way a girl would leave the family home, through marriage. Anything else was classified as imoral and almost imposible to achieve. And I couldn't wait to break free from my family's grip on my freedom...
Over the years we kept in touch, me and my sister...she's got her own life now, a difficult one, as a single parent, but she's a fighter, my vampire baby sister and she'll be all right and I love her so much...
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

High on Books and An Overdose of Vitamin C

'CoverCover of The Last Watch (Watch, Book 4)

The last days have passed in a blurr...My little sister is arriving tomorrow! She's coming from Romania for a month, with her son and she's staying with us, obviously. We'll be a little bit cramped, but it'll be fun.
But today, well today it was a day with a mission: to go and buy us large quantities of vitamin C. I've gone just a teeny bit too hysterical with all this swine flu thing and I am getting more and more frustrated because I cannot to a lot about it. So I decided to take action, and this morning I had a revelation: vitamin C. It is said that it protects against infections or something, right? So I decided it wouldn't hurt to have some at home. I took Maya, strapped her to her buggy and off we went to the nearest "Super Pharm" to stock on the mighty vitamin.
As we reached the cool pharmacy after a stroll in the scorching heat, I thought I had hallucinations or I've stepped into another realm: all the staff members wore sailor type t-shirts (you know, the blue and white stripy ones) and they were dancing with the customers! It transpired they were having some sort of sale and they handed out presents to the courageous customers that danced with them. In the beginning Maya wanted to dance too, but then she got scared by some ladies that were shaking their bottoms a tad too enthusiastically, so we hurried home with a bagfull of vitamin C and other useful stuff, like antiperspirant and Kinder chocolate eggs. Of course, given the hyper state I was in I absolutely forgot that I don't like the vitamin C that you have to suck because it is way too sour for my taste . And now I'm stuck with an "economy" type huge bottle of a million suckable vitamin C pastilles that will blister my tongue and the roof of my mouth. But no sacrifice is too big for the final purpose: to be free from the swine flu!

About the books now. I am very pleased that I managed to put my hands on a copy of Sergei Lukyanenko's "The Last Watch". A friend of mine that works at the Steimatzky bookstore found it for me. Thank you, Thalia, from the bottom of my heart. You are a star! She helps me with all my strange requests concerning books and sometimes, when they don't have the book I'm looking for at their central deposit, Thalia traces it down for me in other book stores, all around Israel. She is a gem and a kindred spirit.
I didn't advance with "The Twilight Watch" though, because, after seeing the last Harry Potter movie I decided I don't remember very well what happens in the seventh book, so I started on it and put everything else aside. It is a huge book and I want to finish it when my sister will arrive. And of course, I got myself caught in the middle of the war between Good and Evil, again. Oh well, that's me, forever in some imaginary battle ...So I am doing everything now with my nose it the aforementioned book, no wonder I break and spill everything that I touch.
Oh, and on my iPod I have "Twilight" and when , for some reason, I cannot read (for example, when I'm out with Dubi, the dog, in the evenings) I listen to it. I've read the series three times already and I don't care what other say, I like it. it is nice, and sweet and Mrs. Meyers has a very rich vocabulary, although in the first part of "Twilight" she uses the word "chuckle" (Edward) too much. I like the books because they talk about love, true, pure and eternal and I would like to believe that it exists, vampires or no vampires.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dreaming of Rain

In the rainImage by K2D2vaca via Flickr

It is so hot in this part of the world that I can feel my brain turning into some kind of terpid mush that stammers and stutters incomprehensible thoughts...
The sun is so hot already in the morning that when I open the blinds and touch the aluminium frame, it burns my fingers.
The light is so strong that is sends daggers through my eyes.
Everything is dry and brown, the grass losing its ground on favour of singed bits of plants that sting your soles.
Strangely enough, everything is dry, but because of the near-by sea the air is so humid it makes the act of inspiring a difficult task. I feel like I am in a not so distant future where everything will be burned dry by the unforgivable sun. So, to escape this reality and any other future ones, I dream...

I dream of Romania. Of cool summer mornings, of spring water so cold that frezees your throat and makes your head hurt.
I dream of a quick summer rain that purifies everything and cleans the air, oh my God, I can almost smell it, the fresh air, the coolness of the rain drops on my skin...I used to go out after the rain and run through the cold puddles like being possesed. By the demon of happiness.

I dream of the dark woods in the Carpathian mountains, where the moss is so green and soft you can put your cheeck on it, sweet and pungent smelling pillow. Oh, the smell of the earth on the wood's floor after a cool summer smells of trees' bark and crushed bitter leaves and mushrooms, a smell like no other I know. And I remember it so well that I have to open my eyes to make sure I'm still here.

I dream of the electric moment before a summer storm, the clouds dark grey and heavy, the distant rumbling of a thunder, the quick arrow of a lightning, the eerie atmosphere charged with electricity, the silence and then... the nature breaking loose like an orchestra playing in perfect harmony in a huge cathedral with its dome under the sky.

I dream, but like every dream it has to end and the images delete themselves from my brain and the hot air burns my nostrils again and lies heavy on my chest. I sigh and turn on the air-conditioning...

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Monday, July 27, 2009

It Is Soooooo Hot and Happy Birthday Dubi!

Today is our dog's birthday! He is 16 years old...Happy birthday, Dubi!
Hopefully Maya will let me finish this post, as she is busy with the new Dora the Explorer toys I bought for her...Just a short note to say: it is sooooooooooooooo hot! (no chance to write in peace, Maya is near me, with one of her puzzles). My sister comes on the 30th and she'll be here for a month! I do hope the heat will subside, otherwise she'll be quite unconfortable. I planned a lot of trips for us - she comes with her son - because is their first time here and I want them to have fun. I also plan to take loads of photos and to publish everything here. I hope I'll have the time...Oh, I want to show here everything: Tel Aviv and Haifa with the Baha'i Gardens and Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. At least the places where we can travel by car in the morning and return to Ashdod in the afternoon/evening, because I am not sure how Maya will take all this...And I hope she'll love this Land as much as I love it...

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Is it Sunday again?

Here in Israel, the week starts on Sunday, so our week has already started. I don't like Sundays very much. Maya usually throws a huge tantrum in the morning, crying with crocodile tears, because she doesn't want her father to go to work, after she had him for herself for two days. Well, I have to admit, my husband is a great father. Although he is 52, he plays with Maya when he is at home (when he doesn't cook, that is) and I can say he is the best playmate Maya have ever had.

As you can see from the pictures I've posted, they are just inseparable...

So, am I a happy mother and wife or what? And if I'll add that this week-end hubby also concoted the best lentil daal ever, what would you say? I'll have to dedicate one of my blog's posts to the delicious indian meals that my husband prepares in week-ends. He is a natural at cooking indian food, although we don't know from where does it come from...I promised myself that for his birthday I'll book him into an indian food cooking course...
On another note, I finished Lukyanenko's "The Day Watch"- good book, but I liked "The Night Watch" better, maybe because Anton Gorodetzky is the main character there, and I like Anton. I started reading "The Twilight Watch", well only a few pages really, so I cannot say anything about the book, yet, but I'm sure it will be as good as the first two from the series.
I saw the last Harry Potter movie and it left me so sad...God, I love Alan Rickman as Snape and Draco played his part very well.
OK, taking into consideration that today is Sunday and nothing interesting happens on a Sunday, I will finish here, I don't want to bore you to death...And I want to go and read my book in peace...
Night-night, whoever you are...

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Mistress of Spices

'CoverCover of The Mistress of Spices (SIGNED)

On Fridays we go to shop at the local market in a neighbourhood not far, in "Bet" (here in Ashdod, the neighbourhoods are named after the Hebrew alphabet, the town's architects or whoever gives names in a town didn't have imagination back then). Although it is one of the town's most sordid places, Bet has the best fruit and vegetables market and the best indian spices shop in Ashdod.
I can smell the store from a distance. I can reach it with my eyes closed. Mmmmmm... the so alluring. Outside, in the hot israeli summer it explodes in a miriad of particles of fragrance, heavy on my tongue, caressing the inside of my skin. The store is small, with spices stored in jars, bags, boxes, on shelves, on the floor, all over the place, an amalgan of colors and smells that intoxicates my senses. I don't know all of them, but I recognize some, and I like to play a game of guessing with the ones that I don't know.
For me, spices are magical. Powders, seeds, pods, fruit, bark, root, leaves, crystals, sweet, bitter, sour, pungent I love to bath in their fragrance, to inhale them, to lick them, to let them guide me through a world were senses are primordial. Sometimes I inhale too deeply, and I sneeze until I see stars in front of my eyes...And the shopkeeper laughs, a deep laugh from her round belly, with her white teeth and black, almond shaped eyes. She is a Mistress of Spices, of course. She knows them all, and she talks to them and the spices answer her back.
(If you didn't read Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's book "The Mistress of Spices", too bad...there you'll find what a mistress of spices is and you'll read the story of one of them.)
I like to think that the tiny store in Bet hides one of the last mistress of spices on Israel and that some day she'll ask me to be her apprentice and she'll teach me all she knows...

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Friday, July 24, 2009


Alphonso mangoes in a box surrounded by straw.Image via Wikipedia


I bought three mangoes today.
Oval, almost round
plump and heavy
like a mother's breast.

Their smooth
dark yellow reddish skin
and the electric orange flesh

so sweet
almost like first love's kisses.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Me, Maya and God

The Hands of God...Image by Javier Ruata via Flickr

Since Maya was born, I 've become a lonely person...Well, I was kinda lonely even before, you know, the loneliness when sorrounded by lots of people and noise...But for three years I am ALONE. Almost.

My husband goes to work every day in the morning and returns in the evenings, spends half an hour- an hour with Maya then he puts her to sleep (Maya refuses point blank to be put to sleep by anyone else than her daddy) then he watches his favourite series - "House M.D."then falls asleep. Darie (my son) was in the army and now started working. And with him, that's another story....At 23 he's so self absorbed he doesn't care much for anything else. And he also works long hours, then goes to the gym and meets with friends. I think. I hope. I don't know a lot about my son's private life. It is very frustrating, but I guess I have to let him go and live his life the ways he thinks he wants.

And this leaves me at home for almost 12 hours every day alone, only with Maya. In the beginning I was petrified, I was so afraid to be alone with her. She was so tiny and vulnerable and I was responsible for her. Well, that was my depression thinking for me. I had a few panic attacks, as well. I am usually able to control them, I have my relaxation and breathing exercises, but the didn't work 100 percent , all the time. Sometimes the fear overhelms me and I surrender to it.

But I have another weapon. I pray. Yes, I pray. When I am afraid that something bad will happen, when I panic and my heart starts pounding in my chest I pray. I am not a very religious person but I am a believer. And I do believe in the power of a prayer...

Everything I feel it has been amplified since I am a mother. My fears, my uncertainties, even the symptoms of certain ilnesses. I am afraid to be sick because I won't have the strenght to look afer my kids, especially Maya. I know I have to be strong, healthy and lucid but somehow I manage to lose my grip on self-control, so I pray. Our Father, Thou Art in Heaven, help me. Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. I am so small and insignifiant, I know, but I am in such I dire need of You in my life. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. I have nobody else to listen to me, to confort me, to make me think clear. .Give us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Just let me feel the greatness of your Love. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Please God, I have nobody to turn my face to but You. Amen.

By the time I finish my prayer, I feel calmer somehow, more serene, better. And I am able to survive another day, to move on to the next battle...

It is late and I am very tired. As usual. Tomorow is Friday and so much to do!

Night night, whoever you are...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

About Books and Sleep Deprivation

'CoverCover of Day Watch (Unrated)

I am sooooo tired! I've been reading like crazy this past days and I am sleep deprived, seriously sleep deprived...Of course, no matter how tired I am, I cannot take even a tiny nap during the day, as I have to take care of Maya. She doesn't nap because she sleeps 12 hours per night, so she's perfectly rested during the day. As for myself...God, I am so tired. And it is only 3.40 in the afternoon. I still have to cook dinner (broccoli and cauliflower bake) and to give Maya her snack (brb) -done, give her a bath and a million other small chores around the house.

As I said, I am tired because I read a lot these days, and I can read only at night, after Maya goes to sleep and I finish my chores (clean the mess in the house, take out the garbage and the dog). But it was worth it, it was worth every second of my lost sleep.

And I am going to tell you all about the books I've been reading and you'll decide if you'll want to read them, too. But later. Now Maya plays with the broom and started knocking down things from the shelves...

Well, Maya is asleep now and here I am, bleary eyes, writing about the great books I've been reading. I won't tell you again about Sergei Lukyanenko because I've already written a lot about him. I just want to say that I finished "The Night Watch" and I am now "in" "The Day Watch". Brilliant.
I also read Alice Kuipers' "Life on the Refrigerator Door". It is a book that can be read in one or two hours, it is written as notes left by a mother and her daughter on their refrigerator , but, as the book's blurb says, "you'll remember it long afterwards". I think you should give it a try. Especially if you are a mother. After I finished the book , last night sometime, I just couldn't fall asleep. I cried until I've gotten myself a headache and afterwards I ....forget it. Read the book.Or take a peep here:

To continue on a merrier note, I read also "Confessions of a Demented Housewife - The Celebrity Year", by Niamh Greene. Absolutely hilarious!!! Very easy read, and so funny. Especially after Alice Kuipers'. Although very different, loved them both.
If you want to visit Niamh Greene's site, here it is:

Now, non-fiction. I read very rarely non-fiction. It has to be something special, I don't even remember when was the last time I read such a book. I think it was "What to Expect, The Toddler Years", the book that helped me with raising Maya or some other book about raising kids...So, the book "Abundace and the Secret Law of Attraction" by David Lowell...nah, not for me...That's what I thought in the beginning. After I started to read it, I just couldn't have enough. I don't know, the book spoke directly to me, it was such a nice read and it had such a clear line of thought, easy to follow. You can see the book and the reviews here:

What I am planning to read next? Well, I have "Day Watch" to carry on with. Some nice chick lit by Sarah May is waiting for me - "The Rise and Fall of a Domestic Diva" (sounds good) and I also would like to read the last two books in the "Vampire Kisses" series (by Ellen Schreiber). Nice series, for teens, but I love YA literature very much, especially fantasy (and vampires, of course). I've read the first three books and loved them.

Enough for today...I keep saying I am dead tired, so I'll have to do something about, go to sleep, maybe?

Night-night whoever you are! Are read a book, for Heaven's sake!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh My!...Shanti...

Today I had my monthly appointment at my accupuncturist. I have been going to this guy for aproximately nine years now. He is the one that treated my asthma, sorted out my allergies, helped me through my pregnancy and sorted out all my minor ailments. I don't know what I would do without him!!! Although one may say accupuncture cannot be a pleasant experience, because all the neddles involved, I have to tell you, it is pure bliss...For 45 minutes I just lay there, with neddles sticking out from my body and I am so relaxed and calm...Sometimes I listen to one of my audiobooks, sometimes to some music and sometimes, like today, I just do relaxation exercises.

Some time ago, in Romania, a psycholog taught me autogenic training - relaxation exercises. I had, back then, serious problems with heart palpitations, and after a series of tests the doctors said they are psychosomatic (not a real disease, but one that is stress-induced) and recommended a psycholog. I met a great guy (still miss him sometimes) and he gave me this great tool that is autogenic training. It helped me to control my heart a lot of times.

So, after an acupuncture session I am sooo relaxed that I feel I am in shanti!

Meet the Press

taken by :he:משתמש:HmbrImage via Wikipedia

Each morning I open the newspaper and I ruin my mood for the day. I like to read newspapers, I was a journalist myself and the addiction to the smell of the printing ink is hard to shake. I have a subscription to the English-version of the israeli "Haaretz" newspaper that comes together with the "International Herald Tribune".
I always scan the titles, and they usualy give me headaches. From today's paper:"Israeli doctors held in Bucharest over alleged illegal egg donor clinic"; "IDF planning to evacuate all ilegal West Bank outposts in one day"; "Settlers torch olive trees after evacuation" and so on.
Oh, it just hit me that the titles of the articles are too long. They tell me almost everything that I want to know, and I don't really need to read the article itself. I wonder if this is because the articles and everything is translated from Hebrew? It can't be right, even in Hebrew. Too long titles make the reader lose interest in the article. That was they taught us in journalism school. By comparison, the Herald Tribune titles are shorter. But as unsettling as the national ones. By reading them I learn that in Spain, a new industry is rising, that of bank robberies; that police and militia kill worldwide and that somewhere exist some tapes that show Berlusconi (you know, the former Italian prim-minister) with prostitutes.

Whay a world are we living in, for God sakes! We have rules and regulations and laws only to break them! Everything in this world works against something else. it so reminds me so of Lukyanenko's novels, where the daily battle between Good and Evil is ruled by so many regulations and a Treaty, that it makes almost imposible to act against Evil's deeds...

Well, the only good news that I found in my Haaretz where those from the Sports section and the one saying the state intends to increase the area of chicken cops (yay for the poor chicks!) Ah, and also the fact that ministers have gotten their salaries slashed by 5%. Wow!

What can I say? I'll continue reading the newspapers because I need to be informed and I have to be faithful to my profession and I'll continue my hunt for positive things. And maybe we'll find there the answers for our problems, the ones in the other titles.

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Monday, July 20, 2009


Cover of "Angela's Ashes"Cover of Angela's Ashes

I just read on the net a few moments ago that the writer Frank McCourt, the author of "Angela's Ashes" died. He was one of my favourite authors, I've read and re-read Angela's Ashes a lot of times. The drinking that caused so many problems in Frank's family , the "Irish thing" - how the Italian grocery-owners calls it, was something that has market my entire life. This drinking problem is a Romanian thing also, and all my "fathers", biological and stepfathers, had it. The last of my mother's husbands was a useless drunkard that ruined our family life for ever...This is the reason why I cannot and won't drink alcohol. I cannot forget how it has marked me, us (my brothers and sister) and how it forced us apart.

Today I wanted to post something tottaly different, but the piece of news about McCourt's death saddened me so I don't think I want to write about anything else.
Also, I am pretty concerned about the raising numbers of people sick with swines' flu, here in Israel. I hope that the situation will change for the best in September, because Maya starts kindergarten then, and no way am I going to send her if we'll have some sort of epidemics here. I started to get really worried after I read this article:
It is so frustrating that in situations like this you feel helpless...What ca one do? Pray to God and...that is...or maybe take lots of vitamins to strenghten the body.
Night -night for now. Let's hope tomorrow will be a better day for all of us.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Musical Baby

32/365 (Alternate): Sing a Song of SixpenceImage by hyperbolic pants explosion via Flickr

This evening, after I showered Maya and I wrapped her in a huge towel, we were down for cuddle time on the bed in our bedroom. She hugged me and said :"I have a song for you, Ramona". Well, her song had only two words, repeated a dozen times, but were the sweetest words sung by the sweetest voice of my angel. "My mother, my mother" she sang, following an imaginary melody. Actually, she sang it in Hebrew:"Ima sheli, ima sheli"...
Maya is a very "musical" child. When she was a wee baby she suffered from colic, like most of the babies her age, so she cried a lot then, and to sooth her I hold her a lot in my arms and rocked her. I used to walk kilometres in the apartment with her in my arms. Then, at some point, I started singing to her. I remembered a song that my mother used to sing to my brothers and sister. It is a Romanian song, its name is "Don't cry no more, baby" (my translation) and it was sung by Margareta Paslaru, a very well-known Romanian singer. Well, I am no singer and although Maya approved of my singing, I found the song on line and we listened to it for hours and hours...Then, I looked up other songs, lullabies, old favorites on mine, all in different languages and I made her a playing list...She loved to listen to music and even now, when she's upset or sick, I take her in my arms and we listen to music, or sing together and it does the trick almost every time, by calming, soothing her. For a long time she loved Louis's Armstrong "What a Wonderful World", then for a while we listened to Romanian rock (there is a Romanian singer - Nicola, with a very nice song "Honey, Honey" that Maya loved), she liked very much Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing", we had a pretty varied repertory. even now, when she goes to sleep in the evening, she listens to a lullaby. Now it is "Hush Little Baby", she listened to it for so long she nows the lyrics by heart. Or, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", another die-hard favourite. From time to time, I have to introduce her to new songs, because I'm bored stiff by listening to the same song over and over again.
I am not a big fan of classical music, I like a few composers and some operas, but that's all. I'm an oldie girl at heart, me. So , Maya is the same...Anyway, I have a great ally in music when things go rough, I even tried the other side around - when Maya has too much energy, I put some crazy dancing music and we dance until she's flat on the floor!!!!Actually is me on the floor, breathless, Maya could dance for ever...

Here you have link to youtube if you want to listen to the Romanian songs I wrote about. ("Don't Cry No More, Baby", in Romanian of course)
and the beautiful Nicola with "Honey, Honey"

Have fun! ( I know we did!)

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So Frustrating

Part Of Being Sane Is Being A Little Bit CrazyImage by stage88 via Flickr

Sometimes I feel that I am so overhelmed by the reality that surrounds me that I am going to explode. ..

The television blares, Maya playes games on the computer and I can hear all kind of noises, I am going to the post office and it is full of people that speak incessantly , Maya comes to bother me - it usually happens when I try to do something on my own, by myself, alone. She talks and talks and talks until she captures my attention, she wants to play a game with me and not by herself near me...the dogs whines because he needs to pee, my husband calls and asks me, candidly, "How are the girls?" and I just want to scream :Quiet!!!!!!!!!!

I need some quiet, I need some silence to hear myself, to hear my thoughts. I had enough of this craziness. It is not enough that the outside world is upside down, my own world is going to collapse???Whenever I need somebody to call, to talk to me, nobody does it, I am left alone; whenever I want some quiet to surround me, everybody just goes nuts and starts making noise!

What a stupid charade...I am never satisfied, ain't I?

Well, I turned off the TV, the dog had his pee, I took over the computer where Maya was playing, I gave her some building blocks and now she builds me a castle and even if I don't have my perfect stilness, it is manageable and I can relax and unstiffen my shoulders.

So, start complainig and start doing something for yourself!

OK. I'll go to pluck my eyebrows, they look like some wild, hairy catterpillars. And then, back to the vacuum cleaner, hang out the clothes, wash the floor, feed Maya...Ouch!!!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

My Special Place (for Katherine)

Off the beaten trackImage by Angela Radulescu via Flickr

Before I start writing, I just want to say that this post is for Katherine Jenkins, for her insightful and inspiring blog"Lessons From The Monk I Married" . After her last post and the comment she left me, she made me think: if I would get out of here, where would I go?

Well, when I meditate, do respiration/relaxation exercises or when I simply want to get away, I always go to my special place. It is not an imaginary place. It exists in this reality and it is situated in Romania, in the Apuseni Mountains. A place called, in Romanian, "Alunul"(The Hazelnut Tree). A tiny village in the middle of the forest near a huge artificial lake. The place is secluded, you can reach it by boat across the lake or through complicated mountaind roads. But once you've reached it, you'll be spellbound for ever, and you'll have to return...Because you found heaven on earth.

The nature is almost virgin there, there are only a few houses, some of them from immemorial times, and its inhabitants live like they used to live 100 years ago, without electricity or running water, sleeping in winter in the stables, for the fear that the bears will take away their livestock.

There, at the forest's edge runs a creek, its water very cold and crystal clear. Huge trees shadow the spring and the sun peeks through the leaves, making golden reflections on the pebbles in the river bed. In a sense, it is quiet. Not traffic, no people talking loudly, no signs of civilization. You are sorrounded by the sound of nature: the bubbling creek, the wind in the tall grass dotted with wild , whispering flowers, millions of insects - an amazing chorus, birds chirping, the ram's bell keeping the cadence.It is so paceful there.

I used to sit on an improvised bridge - a solid tree branch, with my feet dangling just above the surface of the water, drinking in the peace that surrounded me. The sun was gentle on my skin, the wind carresed my face and hair and my heart was beating in the perfect rythm of the nature.

I am sure things have changed there, too. Ten years have been passed since my last visit there and people started showing an interest in the zone, bulding holiday homes; thirsty, as I was, for the peace and quiet of the place.

Although I long for it, I am not sure I want to go there now, to see that, maybe the magic place changed, becoming just another village in Romania... In nature, where the hand of the man touches, it desecrates...And not only nature...I remember how dissapointed I was after my visit to Cluj - Romania, two years ago, after an absence of almost 8 years. The city I knew and I loved changed and was changing before my eyes and I wasn't able to reconnect with it only with great effort.

So I think maybe it is better for me to keep it this way. The image of Alunul, frozen in time, in my soul.

Katherine, when you asked my where would I rather be I automatically thought about Alunul. But I am really afraid to confront a changed present. I prefer to dwell in the past. So what now?

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just My Average Thursday

I survived another Thursday and I must say I am pleased. No major crisis, nothing was broken (not even a war), only a few tears were shed (mine and Maya's also), I managed to hold to my sanity even when I had to sort Maya's old toys...When I have to survive a day like the one that approaches its triumphant end I just go on automatic pilot, I don't think, I just automatically check the "to do" boxes that are securely etched in my brain. Feed the child. Check. Feed the dog. Check. Take out the dog, but don't forget to take the kid also and lock the door. Check...Well, sometimes the boxes and the checks get a bit muddled and then some major crisis erupts or some really bad thing happens, like when, during the war in winter I went out with Maya and forgot to lock the door and we got burglared... It is not nuclear physics, somebody would say, this mother/woman thing, a house to clean, a child to look after, a husband...well, I bet the one that says that is a MAN. It is even more complicated than nuclear physics, believe me. It was easier when I was a journalist and I had to interview some big shot/former communist guy that got his training from the KGB. Maya's looks when she's angry could freeze ten heels, not just one...
Anyhow, it is done. The house is clean, the dog is snoring on a clean blanket, Maya is dreaming of cats and lollipops, my husband is watching "House M.D.", my son is out at some party...and me...I stay here in front of the computer trying to figure out what the hell went wrong in my did I end up here, in this small southern Israeli town, a big nothing plastered on my forehead...I need to figure out how to get out of here or to develop some survival strategy or...I have no idea. I had dreams, you know, I was young and I thought, I really-really thought that everything that glitters is gold, that life is easy and all you have to do is ask...I got cured of all that optimism pretty soon, believe me...I don't know yet what is to do or howI am going to do it, but something has to change quickly, because time doesn't stop when one wants to and I don't want to end up counting my "what if's" and becoming an old bitter hag.

Oh, and I didn't ask - How is the new Harry Potter movie?

Cannot wait to see it!

Well, I'm off to bed with Mr. Lukyanenko. Just don't tell my husband!

Night-night, whoever you are!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Books and ... Chain Letters

You've got to kick at the darkness until it bl...Image by harold.lloyd (won't somebody think of the bokeh?) via Flickr

I have to start this post my writing about something that really bothers me. From time to time, I receive in my e-mail box all kind of letters, you know, chain letters...the type:"If you don't send this letter to x people, something awful will happen to you and your family, but if you'll send it, you'll win the lottery".
I usually don't re-send them, because I don't want to annoy my friends, and I hope that nothing bad will happen to me and my family because I didn't re-send them.
Guys, friends and family who wish me well, please don't send me anymore chain-letters, please! I don't want anything bad to happen, but I'll do the un-doable and break the chain and simply delete them...

O.K. now that I'm done with it...I got so annyoed I had to write about this stupid thing. Sorry. But sometimes it is good to just spit it out, whatever bothers you...
Today I'm going only to babble a while on my favourite subject: books. I found a writer that I love, and I got sucked up in this Universe. His name is Sergei Lukyanenko, he's a Russian writer, and after seeing two movies based on his books, I hurried and got his books and started reading... First of all, I have to say I love Russian movies. I grew up with them, in the communist Romania, when we didn't see much on the TV or at the cinema. We usually had Russian, Chinese and Indian movies. Some South American also, and of course, Romanian movies. They weren't that bad, you know. I love Russian writers also, I learned about them in school and "Crime and Punishment" was one of the books that I read when I was a teenager and I remember discussing about it for hours with my best friend from high school, a girl named Marieta. So I felt a sort of nostalgia when I saw the movies, even though they were not even close to the movies of my childhood (for one, I think vampires would've been a taboo subject in the communist culture). What can I say. The books are even better than the movies, Lukyanenko writes damn well and I felt a strange comnnection with this writer, whose hero, Anton, is nothing of the Superman type of hero we are all used to.
I'll keep reading ( I have four books to read, it is a tetralogy) and I'll keep you informed...
And before I return to Anton, just a few links with really nice articles:

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Passing By Love

Endless loveImage by via Flickr

I wrote the following poem some 11 years ago, when I was falling in love with my husband and the country that would become my home. Back then, I thought that , unlucky as i was in finding true love, everything would end in tears. But here we are now, it is our 10th wedding anniversary and we have a beautiful family, and I hope for many more years to come!
Happy anniversary, my dear husband!

passing by love

everything in my life
is temporary
nothing lasts more than a moment.

even you,
my temporary love
will come to an end
like a chapter from the torah.

the prickly cacti
on the road side
the cry of the seagull
the sunset.
one haredi whispering his prayer
at the wailing wall
the candles lit on hanuka
the flat bread for passover
the sweet, rippen dates
bitter herbs
a leaf drying
between the pages of a bible
the soldier sleeping with his head on my shoulder.

even you,
my temporary love
won't last for ever

only this land is eternal.

massada fortress lives its battles
the maccabees' graves
golgotha mountain
the broken stone
and the blood trickling down to the earth's heart
mary's tears
steps on via dolorosa
the olive trees
on the golan heighs
the quiet water of the jordan river
the zohar scribbled on the synagogue's wall
adam's bones
mary magdalene's smile

only you,
my israeli love
are temporary
everything else

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Adventures in Lala...sorry, MayaLand

This stamp is in the public domain in Germany ...Image via Wikipedia

I thought about an appropiate title to my post, and I hesitated between the current title and something along the lines of "Motherhod, Poems and Other Household Chores..." or "Motherhood, Writing and Cooking Doesn't Go Together"...But in the end it was Maya that won, well, mainly because she always wins over whatever other things I have to do.
I agree that I gave up my "brilliant" teaching carrer because I wanted to stay at home with my baby, at least for the first three years of her life. I didn't know it will be so difficult and time consuming and energy-sucking...well, even if I knew that, I would've done the same. When Darie, my boy, was Maya's age, I was caught between being a single mother and a student and afterwards a journalist, very young and thirsty for a career, for money, for a better future. I'm cured now, but that's another story.
Anyway, some days I just have enough of being a housewife and mum and I try to do other things as well. As I regained my inner voice I started to write and I work on other projects as well...I mean I TRY to write and TRY to do other projects, you know what I mean. During the day I can hardly concentrate on anything else, whenever I try, it is a recipe for disaster anyway (I burned a few pans when I tried to cook and write at the same time).
For example, my day today looked like this:
Maya woke up at 7 o'clock and asked for her milk and her daddy. Fortunately, daddy was still at home, so they cuddled on the sofa and watched some television until I managed to open my eyes and ask for a cofee. Then, daddy went to work and we started our morning routine: toilet, bathroom, shower, teeth, breakfast, more cofee for me. I was able to check quickly my mail, blog and other stuff, then we played for a while. Maya is into puzzles now, so we have to do a few in the morning, for a better start of the day. Then, we went out to do some shopping (when we don't shop we go to the park), returned home, I started on cleaning the house a bit, I tried my eliptical machine for 15 minutes (I try to return to my prehistorical shape, and for now I am able to do 15 min on the damn machine), during this time, as I listen to very loud music to "motivate " me and to keep the rhythm, Maya danced like crazy. Then, shower, luch, some TV, some drawing, played with the cars, played a spelling game. Tried to do some work (I have begun translating my poems) but Maya cried "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO..." and tore away the pages I was working on. Explanations, some tears (from both sides). Started on dinner, but forgot about it, remembered suddenly when some strange smell emanated from the kitchen and Maya screamed "Stinky!". Re-started dinner, meanwhile gave Maya her bath, finished dinner, fed Maya and myself while watching "Little Einsteins". Finally, her daddy came home at 19.oo, so I gave her milk, she brushed her teeth with daddy and...BLISS...daddy put her to sleep. Wait...I had to iron some shirts for Tibi, took out the dog, fixed my husband dinner, cleaned the kitchen...And here I am, dead tired, I mean dead-dead tired , it is 9 o' clock in the evening and I have a few hours only for myself... And what am I doing? Blogging? No way! My books wait for me, calling my name. No work this evening, I am going to read until I drop...I discovered a new writer (new for me, of course) - Sergei Lukyanenko, absolutely fantastic, he writes the sort of urban fantasy I like so much...And I want to start reading his books - well, what is translated in English.
One more thing. This is a compressed version of our day in Lala, sorry, MayaLand. I also have an old dog to take care of, and feed, and walk...and other small things, like a big apartment to clean, clothes to wash and iron...Aproximately a month ago (or more, I think) I started going to the dentist...I am still going, and believe it or not, I enjoy it. I walk to her cabinet and on my way I listen to audio books, and there, while she does her thing, I have time to put my thoughts in order...Could you believe it.
Gotta go now. Books to read, dreams to dream. Big day tomorrow...

(the picture in this post is a stamp with the Bee Maya, you know, the cartoon character. I think the original cartoon was German, therefore the German stamp)
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