Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Happy New Year To You!

Happy New Year (Floating on a bubble)Image by nexus6 via Flickr

To all my beloved readers, a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
I do hope 2010 will be a better year for all of us, I know I really want it to...2009 wasn't such a bad year, but I hope for 2010 to be more dinamic and less...static, like 2009 was. I feel that some good days are ahead of me and I am almost giddy with anticipation.
To be a better and wiser person and to finish writing my book. That's it. I think it says everything. Oh, and maybe to spend less money on books and clothes for Maya.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Maya's Kind a Day

Mud Puddle Jump ZoomImage by PittCaleb via Flickr

I always watch my daughter in wonder as she hops happily through her day...Children are amazing creatures! They live everything intensely, no matter if they're happy or sad. And even when they're unhappy, a hug or a kiss brings back the smile on their faces...
Today, for example...Our route to the kindergarten goes through a very nice park, and every morning I am careful to leave the house a few minutes earlier that we should, because I want us to enjoy our walk in the park. Maya runs after crows, we listen to birds singing, we gather leaves and twigs...Then, at noon, same itinerary, same things. Today it rained and so Maya jumped in all the puddles she could find. I let her, even though she was soaked and muddy, because I didn't want to ruin her pleasure...Sometimes, like this time, I am about to open my mouth to say someting like "Hurry up!" or "Leave it, you'll get dirty", but I stop before saying it. Maya has all the time in the world. And she should use it at her own pace, for her own pleasure. Discovering the world and enjoing the process are the most amazing adventures a kid can have. And if she gets a bit dirty in the process, so what? Why spoil it for her with my grown-up's logic and unhappiness?

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Monday, December 28, 2009

I've Joined a Reading Challenge!

Well, since I am reading as if there is no tomorrow, and since I looooove British authors, I thought that the reading challenge hosted by Book Chick City is the one for me. You can read about it and join the fun here:

Well, I have to dash...books to read! (actually the challenge starts on the 1st of January...never mind, books to find...)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Things I Want My Daughter To Know

Secret SocietyImage by Gabriela Camerotti via Flickr

The idea of this post comes from a comment my friend Hevel left on my previous post and I paraphrased the title of a novel by Elisabeth Noble...

Hevel said that the values, norms and traditions that I would want to teach Maya are my values and are different from the ones in the society in which I live.

Actually, the values that I want to teach my daughter are not different from the universal ones and I do hope that they all the values of the society in which I live today. Otherwise there is really no point......
I want to teach her to be, above all, a good human being. Not to harm other beings (human or not), to respect the uniqueness of each of us. I want to teach her that being different should be a good thing, that this fantastic world is like a mosaic of differentness and this is what makes us special. I want to teach her to be tolerant and to help others, to have an open heart and to love with all her being...

But I also want her to learn that we are allowed to make mistakes in life, but everything comes with a price...

I want to teach my daughter to be, above all, proud of who she is. It is not a shame to be different and when I say different, I mean not only different because you believe in one God or another, but different when you have another skin color, different because you were born physically different. There are so many shades of different in this world that, in the end, being different is a good thing. Because it teaches you a lot not about yourself, but about others. Because, in the end, we are different only in the eyes of the ones that perceive us that way.

My daugher is a great person. She is happy by nature, always with a smile on her face. And I will protect her innocence and well being with the price of my soul. I would go to Hell and back just to know she is safe. Safe from narrow minded people, ignorants and extremists.
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Well, All the Christmas Cheer is Gone for Good...

Collage of various Christmas images, made from...Image via Wikipedia

I was kinda OK today, with all the Christmas gloom that hovers above me during this season...I was kinda OK before Christmas because I simply refused to let myself get carried away by depression and sadness. It happens to me every year around the major passes afterwards but it usually leaves me with a bitter taste for months. But today, it was different...I even planned a nice optimistic blog post about how I decided not to let negative thoughts pervade my coat of happiness. The truth is we had a nice Christmassy week-end. Maya's godparents came to dinner, I went overboard with the decorations this year, so the apartment was nice and cosy, with lots of lights and candles...
But, and I really don't know why, maybe it is my sadistic alter ego, I went and read a blog post that simply made me sad...about how nice it is in Israel without Christmas...well, I guess it is the person's right to be happy for herself and for the lack of Christmas (strangely enough, we are on the land where Jesus was born, remember?) but she does forget that here in Israel live a lot of people (and not just Russians, as she implies in her post) that are different and that different doesn't necessary mean something bad...It is after all a free country...
For some time now I've been suspecting the lady of being a bit extremist in her views about Israel and the relationship between people here. I remember that once she wrote a post about stereotypes in Israel and she was simply mean towards certain groups (she has something against Russians, it is clear). Back then I said to myself that I won't be reading her blog anymore...
I know now I was very naive when I decided to come and live here. I thought that Israel is what I saw when I worked as a journalist and wrote articles that praised the Jewish state that I grew to love...But life is just more complicated than that and time taught me how gulible I was...It is not enough that I have to deal with my rootless existence, I have to put up with all kinds of narrow-minded people that make me feel like a criminal...I have friends, Christian friends that are afraid to decorate a Christmas tree because of "what will the neighbours say" and because they don't want their kids to be perceived as different. I sometimes ask myself waht will I tell my daughter when she'll be older...
Well, so all my good disposition when to the dogs...and I am hurting again...I feel trapped sometimes, trapped because of prejudice and ignorance, and I feel so bad because I know I cannot change anything...
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Friday, December 25, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Because in the evening we have guests for dinner, I thought to draw the winner for the giveaway before that.So, I prepared the names an put them in a glass bowl...

I asked my daughter Maya to take one bit of paper out..

And the winner is...International giveaways aka Ronit !!!(I wrote the short "version" of the name on the piece of paper).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Poiana BrasovImage by le Maître via Flickr

Like almost every Christmas for ten years now I am sitting in our living room...The tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped and I am alone...My memories wander to Christmasses past, back home in Romania and I can hear the carols and smell the food being prepared and I can se the lights, lots of lights everywhere. The memories are so strong I almost wait for the scene to change and for me, to be magically teleported HOME, where the snow is white and the cold is bitting...
I am not a religious person, and what I miss is not the theological significance of the holiday, but its spirit...For me, holidays were about family and friends, about being together...This is what I miss most...
I am so sad the words betray me and the over-flowing soul babbles away in the background and I have only my tears and a few old images that I cling to.
Merry Christmas my poor old sentimental soul...Don't worry, I will never give up the memories and I'll keep the light of Christmas strong inside me...until another life or a better world will come...
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back in the Land of Living

Well, barely...I have been so sick these last days that the fact that I can still stand brings joy to my heart...After looking after my daughter Maya for a week, I think she'd passed her viruses on to her mama (nice, altruistic gesture) and now I'm the one suffering. And there is nobody to look after me...

Today I managed to look around me for the first time since...last Saturday, I think, and I discovered that my house was covered in filth. Literally. So that's what I've done today. Cleaned the house...Threw away three garbage bags, did the laundry, washed the dishes...And now I am so weak I think I'll go and lay down with a nice book.

On Friday we are supposed to have guests, Maya's godparents, we usually celebrate Christmas together. I hope I'll be alive since then...

Thank you all who didn't call or didn't inquire about me during this week of silence. Despite all, I survived...

And while I was in bed, sick, the dolls and my baby were having a blast! These days Maya is having tea parties with her dolls and I am not allowed to touch anything...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My First Book Giveaway!!!

Closed Book With Clasps On The Lap Of Robert I...Image by takomabibelot via Flickr

I wanted to do this earlier, but with Maya being sick I just had to postpone it until I saw I'd run out of time if I wouldsn't do it ...This is a project of mine, as I intend to have a few book giveaways this year and at the beginning of next year.
First giveaway is for FANTASY LITERATURE lovers, as the book is Russell Kirkpatrick's "Across the Face of the World" (the first book in the "Fire of Heaven" trilogy. You can read about the author and his books here:
Now, what do you have to do? Easy! To enter you have to:
1. Leave a comment about why you would like to win this book - 1 entry.
1. Follow my blog and you'll have 2 entries for the giveaway.
2. If you are already a follower, you have 3 entries.
3. Twitter about the giveaway and you have 3 entries.
4. Follow me on Twitter and you have 2 entries. My twitter name is Ramona2006
4. Read any of my blog posts and tell me something about it - 4 entries.
5. Blog about it (leave a link) - 5 entries.
So, do all of them and you have a serious chance of winning the book. The winner will be selected by my daughter Maya (you know, the classical "names written on bits of paper" method) on the 25th of December.
The contest is open WORLDWIDE and it runs until the 25th of December, of course.
And don't forget. This is the first giveaway from a series of a few...
Good luck and don't forget to leave your email!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Am Still Here (Somewhere)

pista ciclabileImage by stefaniav via Flickr

I don't have much time, so I'm not in for a long visit. Maya is still sick and these last days have been pretty hectic, with visits to the ER and doctors and fever and medication and stuff. I am eating and typing now and I am so exhausted my vision is blurry. I didn't eat, sleep, live much these days. Thank you Angel, Zorin and Marilyn for you nice words, it is good to be heard...
I am alone in this race, I gave everything I had and I'm just standing here, bared to the bones, tired and hungry, for food and love and hope, and a better tomorow...I am alone is this race and there is nothing exhilarating about it, just me, running towards something that I am not sure it does exist, just me, breathless, scared, desoriented...
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oh God, Not Again!

Happy Hanukkah!Image by Ben Golub via Flickr

It is the Hanukka holiday, for crying out loud! We were supposed to have fun, to go to the park, to meet with other mommies and kiddies ( this is my first attempt ever to socialize with other Israeli mothers), to make Hanukka and Christmas cards and...we went to the ER instead. My poor baby-girl is sick again. This evening, she had a temperature of 39.6 degrees (Celsius) and after I saw that it didn't subside, after Nurofen and a bath, we took her to the ER. With all this craze about this flu and that, I said it is better to go and have her checked. Well, the doctor said it is a virus and it comes with high fever for aproximately five days, and that there is not a lot to be done, just to watch her temperature and keep her hydrated.
It breaks my heart each and every time Maya is sick and I think I said it before, I feel so helpless I could scream...All this affair with the kindergarten just kills me. Since September, when Maya started it, she's been sick almost continuosly, all types of viruses and stuff. The last one was the hand-foot and mouth one. I really don't understand all this. I've gotten her vaccinated against flu (the regular one) and now this...Another virus, they said. Twenty years ago, when my son was Maya's age he didn't get all this viruses and he went to a day care. He was sick once or twice a year (usually in winter) and that was it. Nowadays, if the kid is sick and you take it to the doctor, all you'll hear is :"Virus". Where the heck did all this viruses come from?
So now I need again a lot of strenght to be there for my baby. Please pray for her!
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Hanukka !

This is a "more photos than words" post...Today it was the first day of Hanukka and because yesterday evening I came home late we lit the candles today. You'll see also pictures from Maya's Hanukka party at the kindergarten, her best friend Hadas and my favourite picture, the one where Maya bites with gusto into the soufganyia (or how is it spelled in Hebrew).
Happy Hanukka!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tell Me About Safe Places

Close to the last best place on earthImage by 2-Dog-Farm via Flickr

Good morning...I guess, or whatever...I am not in a very good mood today, so I'll just stay here for a while, whine and feel sorry for myself so that afterwards I'll be able to go on with my life.

So, I am TIRED. I didn't sleep well, actually, I hardly slept. I went to bed at about midnight, after re-reading Sophie Kinsela's "Can You Keep A Secret?" and at 3 o'clock in the morning I woke up startled, with my heart pounding. I am a very light sleeper and every blasted noise wakes me up. Some street thugs, under our window, were quarelling, shouting, killing each other, God knows what else. So I had one of my panic attacks, the ones that just come at you in the middle of the night and I just sat there, hypervantilating and doing breathing exercises until I calmed down a bit. Then I stuffed my ears with ear-plugs and tried to get some sleep...Yes, mind just went over and over the question :"Is there somewhere a safe place, on this damned Earth?"

You know, somewhere where you don't have to be afraid that you'll be killed, mugged, raped, somewhere your kids can be safe and you don't have to lock your front door. Some place where people are nice and youngsters help old people to cross streets instead of pushing them away because they are too slow...Places that hold no secrets, no back-stabbing, only honest people, places witout politics and politicians, rich people and poor people, black and white.

Maybe I should refrase: "Is there a safe place at all on this Earth?" Because if it is, just tell me, and I'll be off...

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Indeed, Why Do I Read Newspapers?

taken by משתמש:HmbrImage via Wikipedia

As a former journalist, I cannot imagine my existence without newspapers...Here, in Israel I've been reading "Haaretz"'s English edition for some time now and I like the newspaper and I generally tend to agree with their policy. But, usually Israeli newspaper articles give me nightmares or better, insomnias. When, at midnight I wake up my sleeping husband with the phrase :"I am really concerned about...", he sighs and asks :"Have you been reading your newspapers again?"
But THIS TIME I am trully and deeply concerned. It is about the declaration made recenlty by justice minister Yaakov Neeman that says - "Step by step , we shall confer the laws of the Torah on the citizens of israel and make halakha the binding law of the state". I am not going to comment this lunacy because the editorial in today's "Haaretz" is better that anything I could write on the subject.
Please read the article here:

At least, as a minority here in Israel I think I can sleep a bit better knowing that there are normal people who think like me (irrespective of our beliefs).

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Did I Tell You About the Books?

The twenties!Image by Yuliya Libkina via Flickr

I've been reading like crazy this days. Everything that falls under my hands, no matter of genre. And I must say I had a hell of a reading experience! I fell in love all over again with authors I knew, I discovered new ones, I had a lot of fun...
About the books now...
The one that kept me giggling at night until my husband asked me to leave the bedroom because he couldn't sleep was Sophie Kinsella's "Twenties Girl". I love Kinsella, I read all her books but this one, it is such a fun and light read and simply enjoyed it imensely so I recommend it to anyone that likes the chick lit genre.
An interesting author and an even more interesting book is Connie Willis's "Doomsday Book". Willis is a new author for me and after reading "Doomsday Book" I am willing to read more of her books. Here is the book's blurb, although the book is way more than that:
For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received.But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin -- barely of age herself -- finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history's darkest hours.
I am currently reading "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley and I can already say I love it. I love books written from the perspective of young girls (this book reminded me a bit of "The Secret Life of Bees" because of the authors' "voices" are similar somehow).
After I'll finish "The Swettness..." I intend to read Muriel Barbery's "The Elegance of the Hedgehog".
Oh, and I almost forgot. I read Michael Grant's "Gone", YA literature, nice but not very original - teenagers that have to face a world without grown-ups, as misteriously, one day, all the people that are above the age of 15 dissapear.
Meanwhile, Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher's Dresden Files) is still the man of my dreams...I know I owe my fellow book-lover and blogger Simcha - an explanation - "Why Harry Dresden?" and I promise I'll write about my love story with Jim Butcher's character in a few days time...
And now I'm off...reading , of course!
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Bitter-Sweet Memories

Quince foliage and ripening fruitImage via Wikipedia

I am listening to Romanian music and I am crying...The song - "Yellow Quince" brings back so many memories...Memories of my childhood, of late winter nights when, with my nose pressend on the cold window glass I was looking for Santa's sleigh.
Bitter - sweet childhood memories, I didn't know I had them etched so deep in my soul, it hurts so much to recall them, but they come, invariably, hauntingly, to play havoc with my feelings.

Yellow quince,
Light at the window
all our winter.

Strange, but the words don't sound the same in English, they don't resonate at all with my soul, so I think I'll say:

Galbena gutuie
Dulce amaruie
Lampa la fereastra
Toata iarna noastra

Like in the song, our grandmother used to put quinces on the windowsills and I loved to smell them, the almost bitter smell, pungent and fresh tickling my nose. I used to bite one, stealthingly and the tart flesh of the fruit prickled my lips and the inside of my mouth. Later, when the quinces were rippen, my grandmother made quince jam, and if you'd put a jar in the strong winter light and look through it, the jam sparkled in a million gem-like orange rays. And if you'd been good, grandma would open a jar and gave you for breakfast bread and quince jam, with sweet tea and a hug that smelled like cinamonn and anis seeds.
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You can listen to the song here: don't have to understand the words, just let the music flow...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This Year, I Started Early

As I said before, I miss snow, I miss winter, but most of all, as miss the Christmas spirit. I can write endless posts about childhood Christmases, about traditions, family ones or national, about the things that I loved, about family, but I don't want. These memories make me sad, and for this year I've planned a better Christmas, not a gloomy one, nostalgia-filled like last year. And because everything is in the design, I've started to decorate the apartment as Christamssy as possible in a country where the holiday is celebrated mainly by Arabs or Russian orthodox and Christian foreign workers. I mean, I couldn't find a linen Christmas themed tablecloth no matter how hard I tried. I thought at some point to buy one from Ebay, but they are expensive, as I have to pay the postage. Ridiculous really, and in the end I gave up the idea and I'll improvise something. generally speaking, everything is kind of improvised, because I bought all the bits and pieces here and there, and I tried to put them together the best I could. The pictures in this post are of our living-room. Please observe that everything is supervised by my favourite statues (mainly Buddhas, also my Fu dogs and my "meditation" themed ones) as in our home all religions and belief systems are welcomed. On the living room table I've put on duty guard my most beloved Buddha, as he makes me smile everytime I see him...
P.S. If you have any idea on how to improvise a tablecloth for the Christmas table, do share, please!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Miss Winter

The road from Dornbirn to the mountain village...Image via Wikipedia

Yes, I know, I must be mad to write such a title. It is true that living in a sub-tropical climate surrounded by sea and desert has its good points. I just don't seem to remember them right now.But believe me, I just had enought! It is the 2nd of December, for crying out loud and outside there are 25 degrees Celsius (in the shade)!!! It is too hot! I cannot think Chrismassy thoughts after what it looks like one million summer months.
I miss winter!
I miss the crisp, cold air that clings to my nostrils early in the morning, I miss the way the snow crunches under my boots, I miss snow! Oh my God, I miss snow! Big, fat snowflakes melting on my tongue, the eerie atmosphere of winter nights in a small town when you can actually hear the snow falling on the ground...I miss the smell of snow, fresh and earthly, I miss walking in parks where huge trees covered in icicles sway gently in the sharp wind. I miss so much winter that, if I close my eyes, with all the hotness of the air, I can conjure it. Huge, white and silent, with glassy stars on deep blue skies, with the sun shining so brightly, burning your cheecks with its coldness. My grandma used to call it "a sun with teeth" as it frozen rays bit red noses and ears. I miss the wolly hats and mittens that my aunt used to knit me, their familiar smell and the patterns they made when I pressed them on the fresly fallen snow. I miss the long winter evenings when, huddled around our huge teraccota stoves we used to drink sweet tea and eat mother's heavenly cookies or roasted chestnuts.
I miss those happy feelings, those happy seasons that are gone forever, the same way the snow melts in the spring...
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