No one - absolutely no one! - says Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Season's Cheer like Dave Barry. And his gift guides are generally guaranteed to make you pee in your pants laughing. Every once in a while there's something that I might actually want, but I'd never admit to admiring.
It's that time of year again - just as I start to slim down, it's time to get fat again... or at least, to enjoy a LOT of turkey. Well, I'm happy to show off a turkey that I made that isn't at all fattening, just lots of fun to make and a pretty addition to our traditional holiday table!
And more importantly, could I get some Swedes to pay to experience this? I am wearing the minimum (meaning, I'd be arrested in the street dressed like this), sitting in front of a breezy window, and totally bathed in sweat. I often consol myself during the summers with the idea that Swedes pay to bake in saunas, so it must be good for you, and, hey, I get to sweat for free! (I kind of like how the pay and hey rhyme - that tells you, right there, how crazy this weather has made me... will it ever end? And when it does, will I return to normal or be crazy forever??)
I tried to take a picture of me sweating for this post but I just look like a convicted felon. Maybe a chain gang member, in the swamps of somewhere hot and sticky. I'm not sure if it's my wrinkles, my gray hair, the look of desperation in my eyes as my sight is obscured by yet another floodlet of sweat... I think that might be my grandmother in the mirror, except I can't remember either of my grandmothers mentioning sweat, ever. It was probably a forbidden subject, 40 years ago, for "ladies;" both of my grandmothers were assuredly ladies. And I was a immature 12 year old, who probably didn't even have sweat glands yet. (sweat... yet.... ha!)
[Caption 1] It's too hot to focus on anything! [Caption 2] Some of us look better blurry!
Writing a book is a long haul - harder than I expected! After all, I'm following that cool rule, write what you know, so it should just flow, right?
I guess the first issue is that I want everything to be word perfect (and I'm not talking about the computer program that everyone has forgotten). The next is that I want the projects to be stunning, yet do-able for newbies. And the most important is that the photos have to be striking, stand up and shout pictures. Thank you, Nataly, the most talented, wonderful photographer on earth!
See what I mean? She makes my work look so good!!
Technology is a wonderful thing but it's hard to spend 16 hours a day at the computer, either writing, rewriting, reviewing photographs or uploading them to the publisher in the US. (OK, or checking out CNN, People and Dilbert.) To meet my photo delivery deadlines, I had to get up every few hours at night for about 2 weeks upload a few more photos. Every once in a while the ftp transfer would time out and I'd have to start the batch all over again. Oh joy, oh agony - it's like having a baby all over again, but without the diapers!
Still, I wouldn't miss this for the world - it is the most amazing experience. In fact, I have a huge list of potential books just waiting for me to delve into. Combining writing (a life-long love) with glass art (my passion) is a dream come true. It's true that I'm in the studio less - at the moment - but it still feels like the perfect life!
This post is a "thank you" to Nataly Kadosh, the professional photographer who is snapping the photos for my book-in-progress.
I've always taken my own photos, but was happy to embrace the idea of a proffesional for the book, particularly since the publishers were not only insisting on it but were willing to pay for it.
NEVER has my work looked so good! And working with Nataly is FUN - she is extraordinarily nice and totally dedicated to getting exactly the right shot without getting on anyone's nerves. You can email me for her contact information, if you're working on a project in Israel!
Ah, how much Israel has changed in the 30 years that I have lived here... gone are the days of thinking that a hot date meant drinking orangeade at the corner shop. Gone, the days of junk carts in Jerusalem, pulled by camels or donkeys. Gone are the miles and miles of citrus orchards... But still, for 62, the country is looking good. We'll always be a little less modern than our Western cousins, but onward we march, towards the first world..... enjoy this clip from Kobi Oz, celebrating modern Israel!
Here is your chance to discover Israel in her Spring glory! Our region is just north (and above) of one of Israel's greatest deserts, the Negev. We are considered southern Hebron hills, northern Negev, and the Judean Desert (talk about a split personality!). So take a minute or two to dispose of your preconceptions of what Israel looks like; take a short visit with me through the Anim ruins, only 15 minutes walk from my front door. The YouTube caption includes some information about the area and its history.
Just 300 feet down the slope from our home is a very rocky lot. It has lots of dirt, lots of thorn bushes and lots of little things that people have been losing for thousands of years. I can't imagine anyone saying.. oh, this beautiful glass jar is broken, I'll just toss it out the window and let someone find bits of it one day... but it does seem to work that way. Otherwise, how to explain all the bits of pottery and Roman glass just laying around everywhere? (OK, so the ancient coin I found today probably fell out of someone's pocket...)
So, what you see here is a very young seedling that has sprouted in a piece of Roman glass. The technique for making this kind of piece involves folding over the lip to make a nice, soft and even rim. It usually traps air all along the edge, under the rim. What happened here?
After a very long time - perhaps 2 thousand years - a little seed got caught against one edge of the glass. When it sprouted after our recent rain storms, the root grew into the little tunnel of trapped air, which had filled with dirt. When I spied the chunk of Roman glass and picked it up, the seedling came with it. In the photo you can't really see that the dirt is INSIDE the glass, not on the outside, unless you look carefully at the bottom left of the chunk, where the roots are hanging out.
This is a very cool find - and I've put it on wet cotton in my window, until I find an appropriate way to pot it. I'm wondering if the growing root will eventually crack the rim open, or if the little thorn bush will be a dwarf, since its root growth will be severely limited.
As far as the eye can see, covering several hills, I see ruins, tumbled stones and caves. Visiting this place is an amazing experience. Amazing, because you can see how people lived here. You can see what a huge population they had. Bits of Roman glass and Byzantium pottery are scattered everywhere. (Bits of modern garbage, too - to those visitors who casually dropped their litter, shame on you!). Stone walls can be clearly defined.
David and I have been here more than once and haven't seen it all. In fact, from its size I would say that we will probably never see it all, no matter how many times we come. This was a rich trade city 2,000 years ago. As we wander through the city, it's easy to identify the neighborhoods; some of the people lived overground. We can see the leftovers of a pillared market street. Some of the people lived underground - but even the cave dwellers had status. Some caves are rough-hewn, scraped out of the rock, while some are framed with attractive (and probably expensive) pillars and stone lintels. (I don't have a photo of the fanciest ones).
I suppose that on a cold winter night, this place would be freezing above ground, so perhaps the caves are a good idea. People must have lived here for a long time - building new houses on top of the old. We found mosaic blocks scattered in some areas, and bits of broken glass bracelets that looked Mamlukish - a much later period. The only sign of modern times is the goat droppings (why or how anyone could graze goats on such barren ground, I don't know) and the occasional plastic water bottle or candy wrapper.
If you're in Israel and interested in visiting, the Krayot archaeological ruins are located near Tel Arad and the Yatir Winery, west of today's city of Arad.