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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 …

Sex and gas masks and the absurdity of it all

You know you live in Israel when your in-laws offer to take 2 of your 3 children for a sleepover, you return home with your husband and sleeping 3rd child, you strip off your clothes, get into bed and your first thought is not “How much hot sex with my husband can I have right now?” but “Oh shit, <said in-laws> have two gas masks (if any at all) and room for approximately 2 1/2 …

Crazy Jen and her digital detox

In a discussion with my mother last week, I explained to her with confidence that a group of people were surely talking about me when I left the room. “How exactly do you know that?” she asked me. “I just do,” I replied. “How?” she pressed. I explained to her that in the same way she is brilliant when it comes to data analysis or number crunching, I know people and their behavior. It’s not …

What’s worse? Jet lag or war?

As if jet lag, back-to-school prep, protecting my kids from a polio outbreak and returning to work after a 2 1/2 week long digital detox wasn’t stressful enough, now I have to worry about a Syrian attack before Thursday. Wait. TOMORROW is Thursday? Holy crap. HOLY CRAP. I should have bought more Tums while I was in the States. Or I should have taken a longer vacation. Either way, I am in deep doo doo …

“Cheerful Birthday to Me:” a ballad sung solo

My birthday is this month. In two weeks, to be exact. August 19. Just about 39 times, I’ve grown older on August 19 and it still feels off. Why? I’m a numbers girl and 19 has never quite fit me. Not now, not when I was 19, not ever. First of all, in general, I prefer even numbers to odd. And second of all, nine sounds harsh, and nineteen harsher. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F0rPFASUXY&w=420&h=315] The 20th seems like a …

Torn between life and art

I am about to go on a vacation. I need this vacation. No, I mean, I really need this vacation. Now, mind you, this vacation will be in New Jersey, and it will be inhabited by my children, which some people by default would call “travel with children,” not a vacation. But let’s not get too technical or too obnoxious. I am going on vacation. And by choice, I will be disconnecting. Yup — disconnecting. …

The characters must fit the story

I almost forgot to punch out my 15-minute Friday piece until I checked my WordPress Reader and saw that the Daily Prompt today pushes us to “Go Serial.” I started going serial accidentally last week when I found myself compelled to write yet another poem about Kfar Manda, the Arab Village down the street from Hannaton, the kibbutz village in which I live. I was in Kfar Manda because I heard from my friend on …

If your smartphone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?

We know our smartphones make us stupider. We know they distract us. Confuse us. Make us crash our cars into each other. And keep us from having meaningful conversations with other human beings, in particular our kids, our spouses, and our friends. People, presumably, we like and want to have meaningful conversations with. And yet, we keep using them. We keep buying faster ones, stronger ones, more multi-purpose ones. We download apps faster than you …

Beyond the yellow gate

Beyond the yellow gate there is a woman. Her airy black head scarf almost shields her effervescent eyes. But when she looks up, sky blue bounces off her peasant shirt and into her pupils so they ignite. She touches my wrist gently as she feels for my pulse. Ba-boom. Ba-boom. Ba-boom. . Beyond the yellow gate there is a man. His navy blue striped rugby shirt and acid washed jeans foretell a deep, defiant  voice. …

What’s a little closure between friends?

I sat alone in a movie theater in Haifa last night. There were other people around me — strangers. An American guy and a Russian girl out on a date. Two elderly couples. A grandmother, a mom, and her teenage daughter. There were people in the theater, but I might as well have been alone. It was that kind of movie experience. The expression on my face moved in rhythm with the fictional couple’s tension …

Stuck in Your Throat

Your silence is a cover-up. It’s a conspiracy between you and the way you think people see you. Your silence is a ruse. It’s a simple means of getting from here to there. Avoiding an accident. Your silence is a hushed conversation between you and yourself. It’s a promise. It’s a plan in the making. It’s a vendetta. Your silence is silent until it’s loud. And then BOOM. Destruction. Why are you silent in the face …

We’re all gonna die!

What do you think causes the majority of our existential angst? A. Knowing we’re going to die (and not wanting to) B. Not knowing exactly when we will die C. Not knowing exactly how we will die D. All of the above? I struggle with all of the above. But today I was having a conversation with myself that went like this: Let’s say we are somehow able to accept we will die. Not just …

Joy ride

I almost got stuck in a worry this morning. I was in my car, driving to an appointment for a medical test. I started imagining doom and gloom. But about five seconds into the worry, I shook my head. Literally shook it. And forced myself to get stuck in something else. Something joyful. I quickly looked around for a prompt. Once, not too long ago, the winding hills of the Galilee would have been enough …

I’m happy and I know it … clap your hands

I giggle. I work hard to make others giggle. I dream…and enjoy analyzing my dreams. I engage on social media. I innovate (at work) I create (at home) I write. I share my writing with others. I bake cookies. I surprise the people I love with small treats or notes. I want to be around people. I want to know them. I want to learn more about them. I want to discover what we have …

Fast or Slow, This is Life

I read and sighed and groaned with interest this morning, “The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up” by Hands Free Mama. Her words resonated with me and stabbed me like a fork in the heart. I know I hurry my kids too much. I hurry through life too much. And I know I don’t deserve an award for the fact that I hurry them a lot less now than I used to. Or that I …

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  • Relationships |
  • Religion |
  • Writing |

View from above

No matter how blurred or undefined my picture of God is, no matter how my connection to religion swells or retreats; the one God-related belief I hold fairly dear is omniscience. If God were a storyteller, let’s say, he’d be third person with both a bird’s eye and a worm’s eye…
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  • Letting Go |
  • Memory |

Note to Self

So much of my life lives on paper. In letters, in cards, on glossy, on matte. Inside once locked hardcover journals, there are words scratched in anger, in pain, and occasionally, in radical amazement. Inside carefully categorized photo albums, there are faces I used to recognize, love, envy. Most of…
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  • Community |
  • Love |
  • Mindfulness |
  • Relationships |
  • Religion |

Synchronistically delicious

I am often troubled when I hear people use the word “serendipity” when I think they mean “synchronicity.” But I never really investigated the difference between the two words. In my unresearched opinion, I always imagined synchronicity as attached to “meaningful” or extraordinary. Whereas serendipity is more playful, like a…
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  • Relationships |
  • Writing |

Finish this haiku … if you can

I was attempting a haiku this morning when I realized there is no good antonym for alone. Walking alone is often the first step towards These were the first two lines of an idea I was trying to work through by haiku. Except, I couldn’t finish it in a satisfying…
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  • Nonfiction |

Exchange of letters

I was thinking of Sarah this morning when I realized how many similarities there are between the online friendships I’ve cultivated and the pen pals I used to collect as a young girl. Sarah and I are planning to meet in real life for the first time. Despite the fact…
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  • Love |
  • Memory |

It is a dream and a song

In one of my cardboard boxes, I found a folder with some work samples from my time as a book club manager at Scholastic. While rifling through the R.L. Stine Goosebumps newsletters and colorful seasonal book catalogs I used to edit, a typed out note on white paper fluttered through…
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  • Dreams |
  • Family |
  • Letting Go |
  • Love |
  • Memory |

A case for hoarding

I’m a hoarder. I hoard paper, photos, t-shirts, cozy socks, cookies, memories, books. Especially books. And memories. I’m not so compulsive to be recruited for a reality TV show, but I’m bad enough that closets are always full and there’s never enough storage space. Not in my house, not in…
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  • Nonfiction |

Dance as a writing prompt?

My new friend Miriam is a long-time professional dancer and choreographer. I met her in a writing workshop at Bar Ilan University and have enjoyed hearing her tales of dance, particularly those she found herself in while living in far-flung areas of the world foreign to me. But yesterday, Miriam…

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