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latest by jen

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 …

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 …

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  • Dreams |
  • Letting Go |
  • Mindfulness |
  • Writing |

Art of attraction

Art begets art, don’t you think? Of course, we may disagree on the definition of art. But I find the more I notice, the more I notice. The more I write, the more I photograph, the more I dream. The more I read, the more I feel, the more I…
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  • Writing |

This poem comes in pencil only

This guy popped out of nowhere after 30 or so years just when I needed him most. He looks like a dapper old cat, but what you can’t see … what he’s hiding behind his back … is his secret weapon. And exactly what I need right now. A pencil…
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  • Letting Go |
  • Love |
  • Writing |

Pretty lies

If I could play piano as deftly as I do in my dreams If I could sing and you could hear the rich tones I do when my voice echoes in my ear If I could put down words, the true ones that bubble up and swell in my heart…
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  • Writing |

What’s Off-Limits When I Die

Who gets to decide what of yours gets published after you’re gone? Who says that your journals, your letters, your doodles in the margins get to be publicly shared posthumously? I assume the obvious: Your next of kin. Your estate’s executor. But I wonder — those of us who read…
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  • Community |
  • Letting Go |
  • Memory |

The Things We Keep

When my husband and I were first married, we were part of a group of people in Tucson, Arizona designing a new cohousing community— our very own little American kibbutz! This is actually how the community was described to us by a colleague, and why our ears perked up when…
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  • Writing |

The poetry inside other people’s cardboard boxes

A new hobby is birthing itself, pushing its way out.  Like when I took to exploring New York with my neck cranked back gazing up at building sides looking for signs of  shoe polish advertised 100 years ago. A new research topic. A new obsession. The confessional. Sylvia Plath. Anne Sexton. These are…
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  • Nonfiction |

Egyptian Eye

The weekend arrives and most of us crave comfort food. Doesn’t matter if we’re so old we force ourselves to gulp down steel cut oats with flax seed meal and craisins. What we really want is challah french toast. Or bacon. Or grits. We want our mom, our dad, our…

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