latest by jen

Nibs give you magical powers, and other lies I told under the influence of candy

If I had written this article on the 25 best candy bars of all time, I probably would have replaced Caramello with Rolos, and left out anything with coconut. But to be fair Rolos isn’t a bar, which is probably why the author chose Caramello in the first place. My first reaction to seeing the post in my Twitter feed was impulsive: “Hey, it’s Halloween season! Who can I get to ship me some candy ...

Imagining the Series Finale of My Life

“I’m going to die on this road one of these days,” I thought without actually thinking this morning, as I slowly took the sharp curve on the road between Kfar Manda and D’meida. The cars opposite me, one by one, took the curve twice as fast as I did, every third car with their front tire on my side of the yellow line. “Ironic,” I muttered, out loud. “You’re more likely to die from a ...

A poem about Israel

For my 15-minute Friday exercise, I jotted down some thoughts I had while celebrating/not-celebrating the Jewish High Holidays in Israel this year. The poem I produced out of this exercise may be found here on The Times of Israel  and is a culmination of both my confusion and my devotion; of my acceptance and my denial. It is an admission of judgment — of myself, as well as others. And it is a declaration of hope. ...

Where dreams come from sometimes

If time were to stand still, I would kiss your lips leaving no trace of me behind. You’d awaken when time moved again and know your life had changed forever but the only evidence of the crime would be a hazy cornered memory hidden in the land of dreams. = = = (This vignette was prompted by The Daily Prompt: Standstill)

Do you trust me?

My one son has the memory of an elephant. He can remember the details of events that happened when he was three, trips we took when he was four. My other son — not so much. He hardly remembers his best friends from America, and what he does remember is from stories we’ve told him and pictures we’ve shown. We’ve fabricated most of his memories by sharing our own. What I mean by that is, ...

Classified: In need of better ice cream in Israel

I made my own ice cream last night. I did this out of despair. I do not like store bought Israeli ice cream. It’s awful. Even the halavi (dairy) ice cream (as opposed to the soy-based parve) is gross. A complete waste of calories, if you care about that kind of thing. I don’t. I just want some decent ice cream every now and again. For a while, I would splurge on the Ben & ...

What I am is what I am until I am not

Most of my greatest ideas come to me either in the shower or while I’m drying my hair. As do some of the most confounding philosophical dilemmas. Today in the shower, I found my mind starting to spin towards that place called: What is my purpose? I started wondering, “Is this who I am supposed to be? Is this what I am supposed to be doing?” I started to feel concern that I wasn’t acting ...

Smells of Shabbat

One day in the future My son will need some air. He’ll leave home Seeking solace If only for a minute or two. On his journey toward temporary peace He will come upon The smell of roasted potatoes with rosemary Two minutes to go til burning The scent will float beneath his nostrils And he will remember tonight… Walking with me Up and down emptying streets Through quieting paths Around quickly passing cars Parking on ...

Is blogging the new MFA program?

Before I was in high tech, I was in publishing. At Scholastic, I worked in the creative marketing department, not directly with authors, but with their work; trying to make their work appeal to the largest audience as possible. My claim to fame is that I wrote responses to fan letters for R.L. Stine and K.A. Applegate. So if you came of age in the late 90s, we were probably pen pals. I also was ...

Daily Prompt: Legs Wide Open (Straddling the Myers Briggs)

Today’s Daily Prompt from the folks at WordPress: Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why? I read this prompt a few times before responding. Frankly, I don’t think it’s an either/or, and just goes to show how careful one must be when making comparisons. I am very comfortable in front of people. AND the idea of public speaking makes ...

Learning by metaphor

You know you are meant to learn a lesson when it’s offered to you in metaphor three times in one week. Last week, I wrote an ode to Yom Kippur. One of my friends commented by referencing a Dvar Torah given by a friend and neighbor during the holiday: She used driving a car as symbolic of seeing into the future (forward) and the past (rear view mirror) at the same time. She said it ...

I see beauty

When I first moved to Israel, as when I first fell in love with my husband, everything was beautiful: The early morning mountains which framed a glorious sky peppered with misshapen clouds. The herds of cows that grazed by the side of the road in fields glistening with morning dew. The herb garden I grew from seedlings and the lemon tree i tended in my front yard. All instilled me daily with wonder. But as ...

The Key to the Treasure

I grabbed the nearest book: Tolstoy Lied by Rachel Kadish. I’m about ten pages from the end, but I picked up the book and opened to a random page in order to complete today’s Daily Prompt. Grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do a Google Image Search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind. The tenth word on the random page i opened was “key.” ...

The trouble with sorry

The hardest thing for me to tolerate on Yom Kippur is not absence of food; It’s the absence of tomorrow. On Yom Kippur, we are present. We are asked to let go of yesterday’s mistakes, to forgive others, and ourselves. We are solemn in our awareness of the gift of a clean slate. Of a clean tomorrow. But this is difficult for me. My busy mind. Everyone else’s mind is busy with thoughts of food ...

Today is 9/11/13

On this day, when many of us remember a September 11th that felt out-of-order (to say the least), we may find some comfort in… order. 9   11  13 is a sequence of consecutive odd numbers. You may remember this from first grade, or from watching Cyberchase with your preschooler. Or, it may have come to you quite accidentally while you were eating a chunk light tuna and cucumber unsandwich (aka tuna and cucumber on a plate.) There ...

All Signs Point to Yes

What does the future hold for you? The Daily Prompt wants an answer in six words only. I love a good Ernest Hemingway inspired challenge so here goes it with a few predictions, some dark, some light. I’ll keep making mistakes, catching breaks. or Say hello to Sarin from Syria or I will learn, finally, to breathe.

How to recognize a poet

If you write poetry and no one reads it, is it still a poem? What if no one likes it? Gets it? Shares it? What if it’s never published? Never praised? Is it still a poem? How — really — does one recognize a poet? Is the title earned? Learned? I admit — I am a reluctant poet. Reluctant, not because I don’t enjoy weaving short thoughtful phrases together and calling it poetry, and not ...

Traumatized by a long dead bug

Every time something beyond my sight touches my skin  — whether it is a strand of hair, a computer wire, or a strong gust of wind — I assume a bug is crawling on me. I shutter. I swat. I slap. Often times, a bug is indeed crawling on me. After all, I live in Israel, a country that is still in many ways upper third world — at best, lower first world. But many ...
  • Writing |

Why does my story matter?

This is my question today. And usually every Wednesday. Or Tuesday. Depends. Why does my story matter? Okay, so I can weave words in a way sometimes that makes you almost cry that makes you remember the time you had blintzes in that cafe on 2nd Avenue that makes you…
  • Nonfiction |

My kid plays in abandoned buses and I photograph him

Does this photo of my 7 year old “driving” an abandoned bus deserted in the industrial park on the kibbutz we live on instill feelings of longing in you? Envy? Or pure, unadulterated fear? It’s rusty, that bus. And filled with trash. And likely painted with lead paint. Maybe you…
  • Food |
  • Memory |
  • Parenting |

I remember you on white bread

Meatball Surprise Mom is away. Not like that one time fancy schmancy mozzarella with tomatoes from BJs unusual but usually some concoction something on the stove from scratch from what was in the fridge No I remember Meatball Surprise little Jason little Jen Pancakes log cabin syrup big glasses tinted lens…
  • Education |
  • Family |
  • Letting Go |
  • Love |
  • Memory |

First love

Among my cardboard boxes, there is another. It’s plastic. A clear Tupperware container with a blue cover marked “Jen’s papers.” I laugh a little at this because the markings on the masking tape are in my mother’s handwriting and I would have expected it to read “Jennifer’s papers.” But Jen is shorter…
  • Writing |

I don’t know why I’ve been dreaming ’bout the Echelon Mall

Tacos for 79 cents, mild sauce ask for extra and squeeze Children’s Place, a tunnel with carpet inside crawl through the storefront window My first Walkman wasn’t Sony downstairs at a stereo store in the corner next to Strawbridge’s across from Heroes World before Heroes World moved upstairs One time downstairs…
  • Nonfiction |

My heart hurts with how much I love libraries right now

I’ve been suffering the symptoms of drought since I moved to Israel three years ago, but I didn’t know it until I swam again in a sea of books; otherwise known as the English Department Library at Bar Ilan University where I am currently studying Creative Writing. Where my heart…
  • Letting Go |
  • Love |
  • Relationships |

Music is a Gift with Legs

I’m a big believer in the magic of books, music, and people falling into your lap when you least expect them to and when you are most ready to appreciate their messages. (For this reason, I’m about to download The Happiness Project since three people in as many days have…