July 2005 Archives




If you want more, they can be found at my Flickr site.

And now that I finally got a hold of the camera, I'm addicted, so hopefully I'll get and take more opportunities to take pictures.

All sorts of things are going on now in my life. My completely empty office is now bussling with three more people, and we're due to get more in the coming months. Now I'm trying to balance what was a whole lot of silence and alone time I had with the pleasure of actually having people around to do the work (but less alone time). Now that they're a bit trained, I am feeling less claustrophobic.

We have a CAR! It's temporary, but wow - what a difference it makes to live in this crazy heat when you've got a car. And we're doing all sorts of fun things with the car - errands we've avoided for a milennia, helping people get places, etc.

22 July was our 5th anniversary. That weekend was a total blast. Thursday evening we did our 'joint haircut' ritual, where we go to the same place and get our hair done together. Friday we stuck around Haifa and did things we have wanted to do but haven't had an opportunity. So we went to the Tikotin Japanese Museum, which is actually a fairly decent place. Small, but what they've got is very cool. That evening we had a dinner with some friends, who introduced us to some very cool pilgrims from Chicago - which is great since it looks like we'll go to Chicago (at least for a year) once we leave here. On Saturday we headed down to Herzliyya to the Chocolate Bar, had a relaxing brunch reading The Priceless Pearl and then picked up a couple who is now here translating for us for the next three weeks. All in all, a good weekend.

This weekend, the agenda: NOTHING! Also an excellent weekend.

By The Way


Our friends, Shingo and Amelia, have created a great list of some yummy places to eat in Haifa. We have our own, of course, but they've hit most of the big ones. [excluding, for example, Fresco - the best place for both pizza and gelato]

If you'd like to check it out, it's here.

I'll also take this opportunity to give my props to them. They're expecting their first child soon and have chosen to return to Australia briefly to be with family for the birth of their child. I think it's absolutely brilliant. Being with family when you're creating your own is such a high priority for me. It's like it's an animal instinct my body refuses to let my brain suppress. Granted, different people make different decisions and whatever is best for you is best for you, but I know this wasn't necessarily an easy path to choose for them. So again - my props!


The explanation of the photo: I'm in the center with the hot pink shirt on. We were at the home of the blond guy on the left. We were saying goodbye to Andre, a short-term French translator and Hediyeh, an Arabic translator.

My husband, aforementioned blond guy, and several other guys decided the picture taking was getting a bit out of hand (which it was, in my opinion). So they set this up as a distraction. Went up on the roof with some water and dumped it on the crowd below - and most directly on me. And that is what my oh-so-innocent husband caught on film.

Really, the picture says it all!

Below you will find most of the offenders up on the roof where the crime took place - and some of the unassuming victims-to-be!


Advancement of This Woman


Life is just so good right now. Things in my life have come together so well for me I can't really imagine it getting much better. On several levels.

Our marriage went from plummeting into a spiralling murky abyss up to flying high with the kites. I feel like I'm walking on air - watch the bounce to my step. It'll be five years on Friday, and it feels to me like I've discovered my marriage - so much about it. I wonder now, was there a certain reserve I was keeping from Mark? I know it sounds twisted, but I don't know how many times I thought "what if he dies tomorrow? I have to be able to cope." I think I may have actually kept a part of me closed from feeling a certain love for him for that reason. Hey, I said it was twisted. The good news is that I let that caged bird fly. And it feels wonderful. It's also allowed me a new vision of my marriage and of Mark. And the care and respect that Mark deserves with which I was perhaps not always forthcoming {I need no affirmatives about this from anyone who isn't my husband - thanks in advance}. I also feel like we've opened up to a certain freedom in our marriage. I don't know how to explain this. A detachment? Detachment about the other person's time, which makes us value, and thus structure, our time together a bit better. Our Saturday morning ritual, although having morphed, is as important as ever.

Anyway, I've also come to a deeper understanding about my work too.

I mean, I'm a translator for the Universal House of Justice. I think I can be a bit flippant about it at times. You know, "eh, whatever - we do what we can and 'they'll' just have to understand the original wasn't very grammatically correct." Now, first of all, before I go bashing myself, my disclaimer: I am a qualified and excellent translator. I know that. But something small happened recently - I was questioned about one word in a rather long translation - and I realized, wow that "they" I think about in vague terms has a lot of rather important stuff to do. The least I could do is make sure that what they're getting from me is as understandable as I can make it. I mean, I've got a pretty rockin' job, and one of the very oldest associated with the Baha'i World Centre. That is why Shoghi Effendi went to study at Oxford. Sooooo cooooool. To be a part of this is very humbling and invigorating all at once.

And a final word about babies: I think Mark and I are getting a bit of a grip on our intense desire to start a family. Granted, that desire is there, but we have made a choice. We don't need to be irritating about it. So, for now anyway, we've swung to the more positive side of wanting children.

I feel like I'm in a much saner place now. I'm surprised at how reclusive I've become. Of course, I am now holding what should be an office of 6 afloat by myself this week. Just about all I have the energy to do once I get home is surf the net a bit, eat dinner and sleep.

I took some awesome pictures at Bahji this weekend. You should be able to find them on Flickr soon.

The Proud are Humbled


The weather has been absolutely beautiful this summer.

Until about a week ago that is.

Stunning, really. It was in the low to mid-eighties (26 or so for you Celsius types) with cool breezes and even cooler evenings and very low humidity. I started wearing my summer hats a while back, but I could still wear shirt sleeves without being carried away by uncontrollable urges to randomly wrench my clothes off my body in public places.

I thrilled at this beautiful summer we were having.

[cue appropriate music, perhaps w/ a rain stick, sounds of waves pounding the beach & steel drums in the background - all cut short with, hmm - one harsh beating of deep piano keys just left to echo and fade....]

And then it was over. To be over until, unfortunately, the end of October really. It's now hotter'n'hell. Over 100 degrees in the afternoons. And it's humid. Absolutely gross, I can feel this heavy air hanging in my lungs, pressing down against my body as if it wanted to physically depress me. It's a third entity in our home now; a child really, that we must somehow appease in order to make life bearable.

Ah yes, I enjoyed my summer of open windows and beautiful breezes. Now, just as proudly as I opened the windows previously, I walk in my door, throw down my keys and humbly flip on the A/C.

Of course, the A/C only works for the room that it is in, constraining us further not to leave the one chosen room of sanity.

Nature, I'll see you in October - once you're finished with your temper tantrum.



Okay, I haven't shared many recipes on this blog.

I've been researching recipes a lot lately for two reasons.

1. Cooking in a poorly ventilated kitchen in Haifa heat is no fun, so I've been collecting easy summer recipes. [we tend to eat out more during the summer because of this and we're looking to cut those expenses in at least half, so need some real options!]

2. With no gas, we have no stove [see below]. This means that many of my easy recipes are not options at the moment.

So, I just found a recipe for microwave polenta at www.epicurious.com. I could href that, but hey, I'm on a lazy roll.

It consists of:

2 cans (or 2 cups) of broth (choose your poison)
3/4 cup of cornmeal

Mix in a bowl and microwave for about 15 minutes on High, stirring every 5 minutes.

At the end, add 3 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon pepper. (the recipe also suggests bacon & Romano cheese, as I don't have them, I didn't. I wouldn't add bacon anyway, though.)

Ta da. Done. The possible variations - with spinach, mushrooms, spices, etc. - are practically endless.

It's so good to have a feel good, tasty, healthy dish that is just so durn easy to prepare - I just had to share!

If you have any easy summer faves of your own, I'd love to hear from you!

Out of Context


I say this is out of context because of the tragedy our world has just witnessed. I'm simply not going to comment. You can read the news, you can talk to friends and family, you can read other blogs that have felt the effects perhaps more personally and profoundly than I have. I'd feel like I was leeching on the catastrophe to comment. That is not to say my brothers are incorrect to comment - Nathan is in Edinburgh, so feels this much more than I do, and Mendon has friends closely effected. I understand that they saying something is more appropriate than me doing the same.

Wow, that was quite the disclaimer.

I'm currently listening to Jolie Holland, a singer Mark recently 'discovered'. He's described her as melancholy, dreamy and bioluminescent. You decide.

We'll be hosting a BBQ this evening for some friends - both staff and pilgrims. It's kind of interesting, as we have no gas. It has forced me to step back and do less than I ordinarily would. I can't prepare a pasta salad or make yummy channa (an Indian chic pea dish) or heat up the kitchen by baking dessert. So, Mark, of course, is taking care of all the barbecue-related activities. Other friends are bringing all the sides and dessert stuff. We'll see how long it is before I actually feel restrained by not having a stove, heheheh.

The lack o' gas story: most Israeli homes have 'gas balloons' (tanks of gas). You get two at a time: one to use, and one to use when the other runs out and you're waiting the few days it takes to get a replacement balloon. When the gas company brings the tank, it also checks to make sure all your valves, regulators, etc. are in good working order. Typically, the system works.

So, a little over a week ago, I was cooking scrumptious pasta dinner (with shrimp, red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes & garlic sautee as the 'sauce'). Mmm - a favorite I recently invented. Yeah, so I was cooking that when - poof - all gas was gone. We switched tanks (after we'd gotten ourselves an alternate dinner) and went on our merry way. Now, I took my good sweet time calling the gas company. I thought, "what's the rush, I have another huge tank?" I procrastinated for about half a week I think. Then, I was cooking another yummy dinner of soy hash, potatoes & green beans when - poof - it went AGAIN!!! Fortunately, that dinner was far enough along that we were still able to eat it. But no more gas.

And, unfortunately, to my disappointment, when I called the gas company it turns out that two years ago - probably when the gas tank first went empty - they had said that some repairs needed to be made before they'd install a new tank. And somehow that didn't happen. So no new tank. Hence our current predicament. I think we, unknowingly, had the problems fixed of our own accord, but I can't be sure, so we have to wait for repairmen to come out and check it. Except, err ... we forgot to leave our door in the particular manner necessary for our repairmen to be able to enter our flat (the BWC has its own repair people). So, umm, they weren't able to get in on Thursday. Which means they couldn't make the repairs and tell the gas company to come out. We probably won't have gas again until at least Monday, and quite probably later than that. Oops.

What I wouldn't do for a toaster oven. Over the years I have missed a toaster oven on a number of occasions. We should have put it on our wedding registry :-)

Raw - Evolution - Hell


Okay, so I've mentally rewritten this blog about 10 times. I have several different names for this entry (How's about "Phoenix Rising"? I decided it was a bit dramatic...). The one I chose would be more complete as a sentence: I am raw because I have survived an evolution which entailed my own version of a wee bit of hell. You know how after a bad burn, your skin heals and you know you're getting better but you're still a bit hesitant about actually touching things? I guess I feel that way emotionally.

I know it's better. "Phoenix Rising" came about in my euphoria of 'I've survived the worst and can see a better place on the horizon'. Of course, the imagery is the same: my former self has been destroyed and my new me is better than ever.

So, what on earth am I rambling about?

Well, you all know Mark and I recently decided he would go to med school once we left Haifa, which will happen in about 10 months. And then things sort of crumbled. Of course, that's hindsight speaking. We didn't realize that was why things were crumbling at the time. Not that our decision was bad - we're thrilled with it, but actually deciding brought residuals, like having other options we'd explored be closed to us now. We both had things we'd been considering (restaurant, staying here) that we were ... well, mourning. Except, you know, emotions can be confusing and messy. So we were both sort of hurting inside and then hurting that the other was "just so not supportive" which became a bit of a vicious cycle.

And since we both had the emotions previously described, communicating our hurt seemed to make things even worse than before. Like, really. Of course, that would be because we really weren't communicating. Oh, maybe we were, and maybe we would have figured it all out on our own eventually.

I remember in college I had a staph infection in my toe. I was told at our health center to soak it every night and some other stuff. It was Thanksgiving, so over break my mom took me to my childhood pediatrician. They gave me some antibiotics. When I told them what the college clinic had me doing they were like "well, that would have worked eventually".

I feel the same way about what I just went through. This was probably the hardest thing Mark and I have done together in our 5 year marriage. I mean, we've had disagreements and 'big discussions' and stuff before, but wow this was hard. And usually we can work stuff out together but this just wasn't working.

So we went to a therapist. And thank goodness. She managed to get us to say the stuff we'd been saying in a way that wasn't confrontational, as well as getting us to really listen to what the other person had to say and to realize that the other person was going through stuff as well (as opposed to "their doing something and it hurts me").

All of this, of course, has an end result of us being able to recognize and name the pain that we had, which allows us to know how to deal with it, and to improve our communication with one another over all. Like, better than ever before because the more we become sensitive to the unique perspective that the other individual has we can better respond to them as an individual instead of being wrapped up in our own perspective (and imagined perspective of the other).

That said, I do still feel raw. Like a snake that has just shed its skin. I'm not exactly feeling ... extroverted. Or maybe more exactly I don't feel like initiating something. Being with people, talking to people, I'm fine, but initiating just feels like an excrutiating lot of work at the moment, so if you're not hearing from me personally, please understand it is not personal, right now it's just easier to focus on me and Mark. Please reach out to me, though. I care about you all.

And to those of you who were supportive of me this past month, even though you didn't really know what was going on, thank you. It meant the world to me, and some of you, giving me the support that you did showed me I could depend upon you more than I thought I could in the past. It taught me a bit of a lesson in family unity, and how much parental consent means to me. I think it would have been, well, simply not an option for me to reach out to my family if I hadn't known that they supported my marriage. In fact, it was still sort of hard for me to reach out to my parents because sometimes it feels like they appreciate Mark even more than they do me - and being especially sensitive emotionally, that feeling ballooned, of course. But them reaching out to me, across the miles, meant so much to me.

Thank you, Maman. Thank you, Papa. Your words of encouragement meant so much to me (you too, Rae, Mensch and Kristen). Rae, I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't just popped up on MSN that day. You got me to open up a bit so that I could even consider getting out of my funk.

And to those of you who are thinking 'uh, this is sort of weird and personal', well, this is me. I can get intensely personal sometimes. Yeah, I could have not shared this, or just written my family. But my suspicion is that other people feel like this sometimes, too, and I think sharing stuff like this can help people know that this isn't crazy abnormal - it's okay and with a little bit of support it can be dealt with. My family isn't perfect. We have warts and skeletons and the like, but we're still talking to each other and care about each other and the more we can reach out to each other I think the stronger we become as a family.

Again, thank you all so much. Big squishy e-hugs to you all!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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