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latest by jen

Throw my suitcase out there, too

The best coworker I ever had was the one who every morning sat with me for a half hour while drinking our morning coffee and did dream analysis with me. She was good. So was I. Coffee + dream analysis = best way to start the morning. I’m pretty decent on my own, but it’s more fun to analyze your dreams with a friend. I also really enjoy showing people the obvious connections they are …

Photographic memory

I love photography even though I’ve never been as good at the art as I might have liked; might have been. I’m grateful — seriously, grateful — to Instagram, for allowing me an outlet for the scenes I capture in my mind’s eye and feel compelled to share, but hardly ever render to my satisfaction on a traditional camera. I took photography as an elective in high school — learned how to develop my own film …

Subway metaphor

It’s likely I will never understand the passage of time. By the time I understand I will have passed time. Quickly like the express train. People some I know become blurred colors along a tiled wall. Their names once tiled too in a mosaic of sorts crumble and all that is left is a private joke as private as can be because it’s with me now. I see myself at the turnstile at the 18th …

My memory waited 14 years for this photo to catch up

“We took our coffee into the living room. He stood at the stereo and asked if I had any requests. ‘Something Blue-ish,’ I said. While he flipped through his records, he told me about the time he’d asked his daughter for requests; she was about three at the time and cranky after a nap, going down the stairs one at a time on her butt. He imitated her saying, ‘No music, Daddy.’ ‘I told her we had to listen to …

The after-taste of a dream

My dreams are poems Righting themselves upside down in Not-for-long Ville.   Still fresh with relief when I wake I take a pen so I may keep them.   But the poems fade faster than the dream even when I whisper, “Don’t.”   What’s left then, but last night’s dream, which will never be anything more than      

From the eyes of Mrs. Murry

Meg’s mother picked up the pair of brown tortoise shell reading glasses from the top of the bedroom dresser. She gently put them on and leaned in to study her face in the reflection. Cocking her head to the right, she removed the pair, placed the chewed earpiece in her mouth, and sucked the grooves in between the teeth marks. Only then did she notice the smudge on the lens. Instinctively, she reached for a tissue …

In this world, there is a fragile child

There is a cry lodged There at the farthest most upper reaches There at the roof of my mouth. There, its origin may be found in between There in between an exhale and an inhale There where an ujjiyai breath washes over it. There is not a wet cry There lies a very ancient dry cry There where it’s drier than a long suckled Japanese well. There is nothing to do There but notice how stuck …

The wail

As the two-minute siren commemorating Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day for the fallen) began its descent, a poem began to rise. Please take a few minutes to travel over to the Times of Israel, where it’s posted.

Why yoga is the ultimate “ex”

I’m on again in my on again-off again relationship with yoga. This, perhaps, is why you might find more typos in this post than normal. My right shoulder is a little upset with me. It’s even trembling as I type. I’ve been practicing yoga — and practicing is truly the operative word here since I’ve never quite committed nor become expert — since 1997. It was through an employee-friendly work environment at Scholastic that I found …

In the dark

I was one of those kids who was afraid of the dark. Now, when I say “one of those kids” I do pause for a moment and wonder what kid isn’t afraid of the dark. What adult isn’t still? I think most of us are afraid of the dark. Even grownups.  We just pretend we’re not or drug ourselves or sex ourselves up to believe otherwise. We do something to smother the very innate fear we …

When you don’t have anything to say

This time of year in Israel is often uncomfortable for me. I won’t say difficult, because it seems highly inappropriate to label anything in my life as “difficult” in the same breath as I speak of the Holocaust, of war, of fallen youth. But it’s uncomfortable. In very quick succession, we here in Israel — we being newspaper-reading adults and school-going children — are inundated with Holocaust-related content, followed quickly and intensively by war-related content. …

Nostalgia sounds like …

“There’s an echo in the wind Makes me wonder where I’ve been”   The closest appliance to a time travel machine I’ve ever owned arrived in my mailbox today. I sold my yellow Sony edition at a yard sale over a decade ago. This one is a gift from a friend who knows how desperate I’ve been for a portal back. I popped in some AA batteries I had on hand (thank GOD) and chose a tape …

Give me your tired your poor your books

It’s no secret I love old books. I cry over them like they’re wounded, abandoned puppies crouching behind a garbage bin in the rain. Sometimes I rescue them, but then have no use for them. (Again, like puppies.) Often there’s a story behind the compulsion to save them. I’ll save any Little House on the Prairie book I see, simply because I lost my original set of them in a flood. (For the same reason, …

I Can’t Be Trusted

Don’t believe a word of it. Not a letter. Not even a space or a hard return. None of it is to be trusted nor considered true. At best, one or two or ten of my words will last longer than the quart of 1% cow’s milk shoved into a crusty corner of my ornery fridge. I repeat; my song is sung in tune for the length of a long exhale. After that, it’s expired. …

123 days

There are 123 days left until 40. 1 – 2 – 3 and like that I will be Over the Hill. Which hill? The hill there footsteps away? The Tel? Tell me. It’s a curious time. This tick tocking of clock measured quietly uncertain alone without labels I’ve grown accustomed to a “Jean Val Jean” moment in time, says my husband. “Who am I?” 1-2-3 and I will be 40. Over the Hill. Not Under …

A Jewish Mother’s Passover Lament

At least this Jewish mother … Best wishes to my friends and readers who celebrate freedom this week. Happy Passover.  

A trail of pebbles

I hardly blog about parenting anymore. It’s not because I don’t have opinions to share or thoughts to express. It’s that I finally arrived at a place where I understand that most of what I say or think about parenting is either obvious or worthless. Obvious to the older or more veteran demographic who, at best, might compassionately respond to what I write with a nod, “Oh yes, I remember that time of life.” Worthless to …

How crowdfunding is like high school pre-calc

Did you know that the success of most crowdfunding campaigns rides on the contributions of extended family and friends? And did you know that Hannaton’s winery, Jezreel Valley Winery, launched an indiegogo campaign last week? By the transitive power of equality (or something very similar) YOU are the key to our crowdfunding success. I live on Hannaton. So does the winery. The owners, Jacob and Yehuda, are my good friends. You are my good friends. …

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  • Environment |
  • Kibbutz |

Gem in the Galilee

My dad and my husband have this routine: My dad, an archaeology enthusiast, always keeps his eyes peeled for the undiscovered artifact when he visits Israel. My husband always ribs him, “They’ve already found everything there is to find, Paul.” I take my dad’s side on this one and whenever archaeologists make a big…
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  • Mindfulness |
  • Parenting |

Their stubborness, their bodies

Yesterday wasn’t the first day I was reminded that we accidentally on purpose train our daughters to give up rights to their bodies. Even though the more mindful of us will have conversations with our young ones about ownership of their “private parts,” about “stranger danger”, about saying “No,” there…
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  • Love |
  • Philosophy |
  • War |

Color of

“War is what happens when language fails.” — Margaret Atwood * * * * * This is the color of my voice these days … Almost Silent. Imagine it there in a box of 64 crayons. In my mind’s eye, Almost Silent is wrapped in Ecru But its waxy innards…
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  • Books |
  • Survivalism |
  • War |

Review: How to Survive a Sharknado

Book Details Title: How to Survive a Sharknado (and Other Unnatural Disasters) Author: Andrew Shaffer (with contributions by Fin Shepard & April Wexler) Publisher: Three Rivers Press, July 2014 Review In 1999, when Chronicle Books published the first in what would eventually be the popular Worst-Case Scenario book series, I was…
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  • Poetry |
  • Politics |
  • War |
  • Writing |

Sexy Quiet

What if I made the choice and the choice was Quiet? It’s true sometimes Noise tricks me into believing he is life. What with all the heart racing and the jumping out of bed. Gentle she, Quiet, though sometimes tiresome allows me the freedom to kiss my children goodbye and think…
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  • Community |
  • Philosophy |
  • Politics |
  • War |

What the world needs now

I spent the morning with my father-in-law in a cafe in Kfar Tavor. He was generous enough to be an interview subject for me in regards to a creative writing project I’m preparing for a class called “Art, Atrocity, and Truth.” My father-in-law is a child of the Holocaust. He is, in…
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  • Family |
  • Parenting |
  • Politics |
  • War |

If it was a place

If it was a place — cognitive dissonance, it would be here, Israel. Where in one swift shift I move from embarrassment (I forgot about swimming lessons) to fear of war. Shame I forgot about it; murder and them (those who can’t forget except in dreams which aren’t real) and yelled at my…
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  • Mindfulness |
  • Parenting |

How to be a happy fool

The Buddha never said this, but it’s the noise of parenthood that propels me to appreciate the quiet. This is probably the greatest lesson I’ve learned so far in the 11 and a half years I’ve been mothering.  This is also why I wouldn’t use time travel to go back…

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