38 – Expressions of love

The violinist’s melody danced into the sunset and skipped along the rocks of Tel Aviv’s beach. By chance, happily an audience at the right place and time, we few strangers grinned at one another, grateful for the lovely, but too short, concert.  (try another browser –Chrome, Edge, Firefox, etc- to play videos. Or try your “smart”phone. Let me know if you cannot open the videos. If you’re a techie with suggestions, PLEASE please share them with me)

Here’s his card in case you want to have him at your next event:


Last week Jerusalem celebrated 50 Years of Reunification. Parades, ceremonies, and memorials filled calendars as many flooded into the city from around the world as well as Israel – like a huge 50th birthday party. Although still a frequent site of terrorism, Jerusalem has dramatically been reunited with the entire world. Worshipers of the 3 major monotheistic faiths are at last able, beginning in 1967 until today to enjoy freedom to visit and worship at their holy sites, thanks to it being under Israel’s rule.

The victory came at impossibly high cost to the tiny country whose population then approximated today’s Indiana (around 6.5 million). Proportionately, by deaths + wounded as a percentage of the entire nation, Israel lost twice as many of her population to death or injury between June 5-10, 1967 —

In 6 days, twice the percentage of deaths + wounded than US lost during the 8 year battle in Vietnam.

Six days of fierce battle cost beloved lives and forever broke mothers’ and sweethearts’ hearts . . . and left everyone grieving for more than one.

more specifics on the history: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/background-and-overview-six-day-war

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrRpzzjYu9Y  a string of youtube’s on the 1967 Upset, appealing to different audiences. perhaps a few you’ll appreciate


The Melody Hotel in Tel Aviv caught my eye for more than the name.

can you see him?

I imagine the designer of this bit of flavor on the building’s side is a fun-loving soul who would be interesting to meet.


Modern Turkish music in Jaffa:


Art Classes were the highlight of more than 2 months in Tel Aviv. Competition was stiff, and included: learning folk dance steps, meeting people, really great coffee, wonderful music on the streets and in cafes, running along the beach, terrific vegan/vegetarian food, perfect weather . . .

But the art classes and wonderfully skilled teacher were like fine chocolate. . . Signing-up on a whim, I was immediately intimidated by the skill and experience of classmates, but stepped past my insecurities to learn and be honest with the process. https://www.telavivartstudio.com/

The Figure Drawing Class was part of my sampler strategy: try a variety of mediums, learn a few techniques, and see what might “fit”.

The first few minutes after the model removed her wrap were uncomfortable-newness for me, but with a timer running to get a quick sketch on paper, her body lost its vulnerability and became a collection of shapes and proportions.

from my first figure drawing class (the ghosty background lines are another work on the other side)

The model, a student of jewelry design, maintained poses in the center of the room for increasingly longer times; first standing, then seated on a chair, and finally on the floor. What did she think about, frozen in time, naked, surrounded and studied intensely by 6 students?

As our teacher circulated to offer suggestions, explaining, asking . . . doing the work of great teachers who know their craft, I wondered about the 2 male students. How different was this experience for them? Was sexuality a distraction? Seeing their work afterwards told me they’d been busy sketching, erasing, revising. Perhaps they compartmentalized potential distractions, or bypassed them as I had. I wished I had a friendship with one of them to discuss it, but alas, my efforts at conversation with them fell flat.

I fully intend to pursue Art Studios at upcoming destinations in northern Israel. However, I’ll release my wonderful experience in Tel Aviv rather than set up impossible comparisons or expectation. Each new opportunity must be unique.


Tel Aviv and Jerusalem parks often include exercise equipment. The ergonomic designs seem to work for most bodies, using the individuals’ body weight as “weight”. I see all ages and fitness types on the equipment, some with personal trainers teaching them creative ways to target additional muscle groups.

Sometimes conversations slow the exercise and the hard plastic seating becomes too much like a park bench. . . until a more serious exerciser asks for the equipment. Just like in gyms.

I ran the beach and used the equipment, walking or running a stretch of the coast most days at least once: early morning, sunset, late at night. I can only imagine that as the hot hot, humid summer reveals itself, the runners will be found late late or early early, and that this equipment will be hot to touch in summer’s mid-day, even under the shade.


What did you do when someone you love received dreaded news of death or illness? or was promised lifelong challenges of a diagnosis, medical complications, cancer, traumatic injury?

The comfort we offer to others comes in so many forms, but the end result I want to give and receive is genuine love and affirmation. Months ago I listened to a story about a much-loved grandson, who had received a diagnosis of childhood diabetes. Although recent Star Trek-like developments are making diabetes far more manageable, the boy’s Savta (Hebrew for grandmother) grieved at the thought of anything less for him than a lifetime of perfect health. Who wouldn’t feel that way?

Besides that, the big WHY? comes into play.

Not one to sit in passivity, this devoted grandmother researched to learn all she could about the disease, new developments towards prevention, management and cure. The energy and intensity of her research screamed to me of her love the for boy. Others would not do that research but instead express love and concern in other ways. Some of my Israeli friends express love with food. Great food. I feel the love of some by their interest in my life and what I love. One friend who passed away years ago was a gift giver. It didn’t take long to discover that the way to express love to her was to give her gifts. Any token qualified, it seemed.

Kindnesses are love to a stranger, and happen on the street. Teens slowing to allow for a fragile, slow-moving “gramps” to pass. The man who let me go ahead in the cashier line at the market. Hopefully, my smiling face and “good morning.”

Kindness from friends is sometimes sacrificial. A friend who tried to give me his ticket when I mentioned I wanted to attend Jerusalem’s national celebration this past week. (I refused his ticket, and he scrambled somehow to find me another) A dear friend who spent hours and gas all over Denver to find impossible-to-find ladies handkerchiefs for me, bought almost 20, and then washed and ironed them.

Listing these few and not listing so many many others stirs in me gratitude to God, to those I know and love, and to the strangers. A perspective that I want to become habit.

I love stories of the lengths people go to love another. Does going great length prove love? I used to think so, but no longer. Needy “love” sometimes compels people to pursue, but need is not the same as love, and in the long run the destinations of Love vs Need are far apart. Like taking the wrong flight, landing in Need instead of Love can be a huge disaster.

Job losses, broken marriages, loved ones making choices of self-destruction. . . Sometimes I wonder what’s around the next corner and whether I’ll be woman enough to navigate the decisions, sorrows, disappointments that life guarantees. Whether as recipient of the sorrow, or friend to the sufferer, I hope to somehow be enough for the challenge.

Until then I’ll lean-in ever closer to the One who gives me each breath, do my part to nourish and prune my heart of love, and embrace the fundamentals that make for coping gracefully.

May you grow in patience and kindness and gentleness and hope and love . . .

 Take a few minutes to let me know your thoughts, with an email or comment on this site (for my eyes only)!

37 – Seeing Life at every turn

This past week was Israel’s Memorial Day, and on it’s heels, Independence Day #69.

The strategy makes perfect sense: Solemn ceremonies gather families and friends from all over the nation to honor the deaths of 23,544 men and women, loved ones forever remembered.

Unlike the U.S., where many don’t know anyone who served in the military, nor have they lost anyone through war, everyone here has lost loved ones in uniform.

Independence Day begins the moment Memorial Day ends, like turning on a light, with upbeat ceremonies, songs, shows, fireworks, flags on cars and homes, barbecue, and even more ceremonies.

Below is the earlier, shorter version of fireworks at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, and the second set were grander and longer. If you have trouble running  my videos, try opening the blog on your smart phone, or another browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox).

If there are other solutions, or you have suggestions how I can make the videos more easily accessible, Please let me know

 


Do you find some people “look” like their dogs? This beautiful young woman and her doggie just might have the same hairdresser. A photo of them from the front seemed a breach of privacy, so tell me: Am I pressing the envelope to include this?

same “Do”

I give smiles away for free if I can catch the eye of faces that appeal to me – old, young, beautiful or not.

Some startle and then give me a smile back. I calculate a 40% return on my investment.


New Friends Old Friends Odd Friends?

How do we grow from who we were to who we are today, and still keep the connection with friends?

Talking about his Independence Day barbecue, a friend mentioned preferring his conversation with the 4-year-old son of good friends over the adult conversations. It sounded like he was growing away from the child’s parents, so I said, “Tell me about your friendships.”

He described changing each decade and appreciating both new friends who know him as he is today as well as those with history, but that sometimes history is not enough. He’d recently met with someone he’d known well 20 years ago. Over coffee, they discovered how both of them had changed, at the same time recognizing the “who they were” within their current versions. It was clear, however, there was no longer a connection.

Today’s dreams being understood by those who knew us back in the day is precious indeed.

Another woman has only friends from her youth. Why?

Is there no need? No time? Or no room for new friends?

Making new friends can be difficult, and is risky, since trust is built or earned, and betrayal is brutal.

I love talking with children and elderly, and so sometimes find it easier to mingle with them than with my age-peers. I’m likely to reach out to people who are alone. Not always, but I sometimes feel expendable in the peer-mingle.

What about you?


A recent home-of-the-week – around 350 sq ft

The sleepy 3am trips-without-tripping from the loft bed to the bathroom were the only downside of this tiny studio


I try to keep my eyes open for moments to embrace. They soften the day. Precious. Funny. Provoking. 

the challenges of translation are found everywhere – even inside the stall

Not a Singles Group, but…

FluenTLV.com hosts a Saturday evening club that feels like what must be like a singles mixer. After paying my 20 shekels (think $5) and receiving a red wristband indicating I’m a native English speaker, (as though they don’t know that from my Hebrew!) I search the restaurant’s huge outdoor bar area for the table with the sign “Advanced Hebrew.”

The 100+ participants will spend several hours in Tel Aviv’s cool evening air initiating and navigating conversation with speakers in their target language. Each table has one or several “Ambassadors” who earn free entrance volunteering half the evening as a coach /conversation helper /question answer-er. Then they swap around so each Ambassador spends the other half of the evening practicing their target language.

I’m certain I’m the oldest of the attendees(sigh), but they talk with me and I benefit from the exercise. I’m amused to see young men sometimes speechless when an exceptionally beautiful young woman is trying to get him to talk. It’s funny, in a sweet way. I confess trying to assess which conversations are “chemistry” and which are merely open and friendly. Surely some loves will bloom as these mostly 20- and 30-somethings meet to stretch their new-language skills over a glass of wine. It’s a better fishing pool than the bar scenes’ “Haven’t we met before?” or “Hey baby.”

I imagine the servers finish their shifts with headaches since the entire area sounds like one big international argument, except everyone is having a good time, so the vibe is happy. The evening is hard work for me and the overwhelming noise level a huge obstacle. Not yet knowing the language well enough, the ambient noise makes it impossible to “fill in” sounds or words lost in swirls of conversations.

P.S. I’m nowhere near “advanced”, but thankfully well past the extreme basics of “My name is/ How are you?/ Where are you from?”


Like Aspens in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, taxi horns in NYC, bikinis on Southern California beaches, Israel’s desert dons Red Anemones in January and February. I sat in this field a long afternoon last winter, filling my eyes with their happy glory, watching children run and sweethearts kiss.  These months later, I appreciate revisiting the moment.

Darom Adom (Red South) Festival. January-February 2017


Emerging

In Rome earlier this year, walking towards David, famously immortalized by Michelangelo, I was introduced to a series of 4 of the great artists’ intentionally “unfinished” works.

The concept is: the person emerges from the stone by the hands of the skilled creator

What are we doing if not slowly being revealed for who we are…what we’re about?

Too slowly, by my estimation, but then life demands to be lived one moment at a time. I was never before the woman I am today, no matter what I wish.

Michelangelo’s Slaves


Have you wondered why hotels don’t crack down on theft? This is the first of its kind I’ve seen. Do you think it’s crass, or reasonable?

Yitzhak Rabin’s life as a husband and father, Army hero, leader, assassinated Prime Minister was a far cry from my own, but still, these words resonate deeply!

“Extraordinary privilege has fallen to my lot. I have done things that I barely dreamed of, or hoped I would do.” Yitzhak Rabin

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.  Ecc 3:1

Last January, I turned off of a 2-lane road in the Arava to explore a site I’d passed many times in Israel’s eastern desert, along Jordan’s border. (see blogs 32, 33, 34)

I found Camels

and miniature horses (compare these little guys to the camel in the background)

and an outdoor cafe with huge pots of homemade veggie and meat dishes.

I noticed a large tent for overnight stays, and thinking I might be interested in staying there sometime in the future, I peeked inside:

 

Communal sleeping on the ground? I lost count after 30 mats. Hmmm  There was a time when I would have loved the adventure of that. Now? Not so much.

I returned from that drive particularly grateful for my mattress, quiet, and facilities.


the translation?

Have a good week

With a smile

with a hug

with happiness

with a dream

that will come true

 

Let this be a conversation – write and tell me what you think, what you’re up to, what you’re dreaming…