January 31, 2013


Fact: There are cats all over Israel.
Roving gangs of street cats.
They are territorial, fight and mate loudly, and are in all places at all times.
Sometimes people feed them (like the mental giant pictured above).

Fact: I love Instagram.
Currently, I have a series on Instagram that I call #catsonwheels.
I think its self-explanatory.
I walk around a lot with a stroller. I see this all the time.

January 29, 2013


Welcome to the inaugural Tuesday edition of Shazam!
where I give you a glimpse into the soundtrack of my Tel Aviv experience.
Have you ever been watching TV, sitting in a restaurant or cafe, or listening to the radio and heard a snippit of a song that grabs you? or maybe that you recognize but cant place? Well, in these moments I reach for my phone and Shazam the shit out of it (translation- I use an application called Shazam to identify the song in question). Then, when I'm on the bus (which happens a lot these days) I listen to the songs I've recently tagged. And now, you will reap the rewards every Tuesday afternoon as I share with you my favorite song of the week. Hopefully we can open some new musical doors!  Let me know what you think!

This week, as a first time bonus, I'm going to share three of the songs that I've been listening to as of late:

1. Karen Ann- My Name is Trouble

I heard this song on the radio awhile ago, and loved it immediately. There's something wild and dark about her voice that I really love.  She's an Israeli artist who apparently has been making mainstream music for quite sometime. Check out the link to her wiki article (click on her name above) to see some of the stuff shes done. Heard this already? Leave a comment and let me know!

2. The Piano Guys- One Direction Cover

Itzik and I found this group on YouTube, and they do some really incredible and creative things. They perform original music, and (like this video) re-tool pop and classical music in ways you never really expect. This video is by far my favorite to watch- 5 guys and 1 piano covering a cheezy pop song and making something phenomenal.

3. Motopony- King of Diamonds

I think I heard this in an episode of Hung last month (I watched a lot of TV when I was sick, a side effect of this exercise might be that you learn what my television tastes are...). HBO shows are usually a gold mine of interesting and lower-profile artists. I like listening to this while I'm doing domestic chores. I'm not sure why but it makes me feel less annoyed by dirty dishes and straggler socks.

Tuesdays will never be the same.

January 26, 2013

An afternoon with Ellie.

One of the comments I recieved regarding my last post was:
"More pics of Ellie!"
Your wish is my command.

I haven't blogged much about the families I babysit for- mostly an effort to respect others' privacy- but Ellie's parents get how cute she and her sister are, and totally get that an adoring public cannot be left wanting.

This weekend I found the perfect opportunity to share with you guys a little bit of how I spend my working hours...in a magical land of princesses and babies. Ellie's big sister, Emma, recently turned five (going on seventeen...) and Friday afternoon her parents threw a birthday party for 30 of her closest friends. I hung out with Ellie during the thick of it. We went to the park during prep-time, came home and noshed on the abundant fruit and snacks moving between the kitchen and the party, and (she) took a solid nap.

Let me tell you, once she woke up, Ellie (who worships Emma and won't tolerate missing out on any fun) was NOT pleased to be kept from the festivities for things like naps and snacks. The looks that little angel was shooting my way could kill. So, towards cake-time we finally went up to the roof and joined in the fun.

Popcorn and cotton candy machines. Duh.

If I'm being totally honest, Ellie and I were both happy to go upstairs in the end. 
This party was the princess extravaganza of my childhood dreams. I mean, cotton candy? Stop it. 
And the cake...you'd have been drooling too.

Yeah- I had some.

Just stop. 5-yr-old me was green with envy.

Everyone enjoyed cake while the party wound down, and slowly Ellie cruised her way on over to the cake table after the crowd thinned, and dove right into the chocolate-y princess-y goodness--her mom and I were ready with smartphone in-hand. 

All in all, it was a lovely day at work. My job doesn't suck.

January 24, 2013

Catching up...and other news.

How often do you feel like you're playing catch-up? Lately, I feel like that most of the time.
Today, I'm catching up on blogging.
I logged on and realized I haven't posted since Christmas? Oy. My apologies.
I was going to post awesome pics of the New Year's party that Itzik and I had tickets for, but then I caught strep throat, missed the party...and almost two weeks of my life. Now I'm playing catch up at that (life), too. So, let me catch you up a little bit about the goings-on in my corner of the world:

At some point (after the penicillin kicked in, methinks) I realized that I needed to make some serious changes, restore my health and officially move from the nomadic, transient head-space I've been inhabiting  since I graduated from TAU (yes, thats right, I actually finished my MA! Baruch HaShem!)

But which changes? First and foremost- yoga. Yoga is an expensive habit I picked up in Boston. Only, in Boston I was volunteering at a studio and was getting my fix for free. When I left for an adventure in the Middle East I let my student-budget put my practice on hold. However, I am no longer a student, I've been sick all winter, I've put on a few lbs, my face has been breaking out for four months, and in general I haven't been feeling at my physical peak. So, this week, I made the executive decision that yoga can no longer be classified as a 'want' rather than a 'need,' and I forked over the cash for a membership at a studio. I've been to several classes, and I can already feel myself returning. My skin is clearing, my thoughts are clearing, and my muscles are shouting at me for more. I have found great value in a habit which works my body, and lets my mind rest for a few hours every week.

Sometimes I go to the beach in the morning to do a little yoga. 
It could be worse.

Until I receive my working visa, my employment options are a bit limited,
so I've been babysitting (what any recent MA grad wants to do) and enjoying the opportunities to get outside, play with children, and walk around Tel Aviv.
Every day I fall more in love with this place. Ellie (the 1-yr-old I pass the time with) and I have been on a mission to find the best playground in Tel Aviv. It's grueling work. We both really hate it.

Also, I experienced my first Israeli election this week. Did you hear about it in the news? If you don't live here, it's likely that you didn't hear much. The outcomes were, politically, a bit unexpected, and interesting (at least to me). But what I want to highlight about Israeli elections, what surprised and delighted me, was the incredible sense of unity and community that comes with an election here. The population is small, and voter turnout was at an all-time high - around 65%. That's a big deal.

One difference between elections in the US and here is that in Israel, Election Day is a bank holiday. Everything is closed. Public transportation runs, but by making Election Day a holiday, the election itself becomes something that you can't ignore. Parents take their children, who see that citizenship is something important and worthwhile. Families spend time together. And it felt to me like everyone had a stake in what was happening that day.

Itzik and I visited his mother outside of Tel Aviv so he could vote, and on the way there it seemed that all of Israel was out and about. We actually cut through the market on foot cause it was faster than sitting on a bus in traffic (I, of course, took the opportunity to grab a smoothie and a donut).

Yes, moving through this crowd was faster than the bus.

Love the shuk. It's never dull.

Itzik's brothers and sister all joined us at their mom's place, and we all walked over to their old elementary school so they could vote. I kept high-fiving Itzik (which he hates) and shouting "citizenship!". I wasn't even voting, but I felt like I was a part of something important.

Afterwards, his mom rewarded me by showing us old family photos.
It would be a shame not to share these:

Itzik (the baby) is now the spitting image of his father (the adult)

Playing dress-up for Purim

In other news...
I've also been making a concerted effort to catch-up with friends and family from back home. My old boss from The David Project, Charles, and his family were in Israel last month and the opportunity was seized to have a DP reunion!

Charles, Libbie, and I

CJ trying to Skype someone in from back home

One of the best parts of the evening was welcoming Maggy and Kurt back to Israel.for good!

They flew in a couple of days prior, and I am LOVING having so many people from home around these days.
More on Maggy's return in a later post.

Okay, I think this is a pretty good catch-up for the time being. We have covered a lot of ground. What do you think? Have any thoughts about the election? Want more pics of Ellie? Into the street art?
Hit me with some feedback, I'd love your thoughts.

It is my solemn vow to you, dear reader, that I won't let so much time pass anymore between posts, so that they are not as jam-packed moving forward.