11 hard as stone

11 ~ Jan 17 – 24, 2015



Nails and hammer?  Not so simple!  With my laughable-but-adequate tool collection unpacked and decisions finally made about where each picture belongs, I set to work to hang them.  The Renoir print, from Los Angeles’ Norton Simon Museum dating back to my college days, was given the honor of “first,” in my bedroom as always. However as things go, it was both first and last.   The nail bent and fought with me and my lightweight hammer, but did finally nestle well enough to hold Renoir.  The next two attempts created craters in the wall, since after the first pound, the nails found Jerusalem STONE!  When unable to coax into place a substantial nail or even a tiny one, I thought my college days’ hammer had finally met its match. Its delicate wood handle, painted with caterpillars and its “pounder” of about ½” diameter (it’s always made men laugh!!) wasn’t up to the task.  I emailed one of my new-friend’s husbands who’d offered, “Let me know if you need any help.”  His reply included: Most of the walls here in Israel are cement and skimmed with plaster to make them smooth.  Depending on how heavy the item is that one wants to hang, there are plastic hooks that can be purchased at most any housewares/hardware shop. They have three to five little metal pins that get hammered into the wall and come in various sizes.  If the item is too heavy for such a hook then we will need to use a hammer drill to make a hole in the wall and sink a plastic plug to put a screw into.

I know when I’ve been beat!  As I type, the pictures are sitting on the floor, each below its assigned spot, like children waiting too long for the bus to the beach.  I’m waiting until the kind soul with a better understanding of my walls than I have, is available to come be my handyman.


BIG families here and how do I pronounce your name!  By chance, my darling friend Yedidya called right after the picture hanging failure, and he will help with whatever remains unhung when he picks me up on Tuesday for a visit to the Negev, to finally meet his beautiful wife and daughter in person (as opposed to SKYPE), his parents, and maybe a few of the g’gillion cousins he’s named.  These families are huge, and I love that.  The only problem?  All the names are new, so very very hard to remember. I come home and write them down, often.  And I’ve become bold about asking how to pronounce them, what they mean, and so forth.


01/02/15   Did you know there are two ways to read this date?

Is it January 2, 2015 or  February 1, 2015.  It can get tricky!  P.S. Israel puts the month in the center, as does most of the world.


Walk on by (who remembers the song by Dionne Warwick?  You’re THAT old?!?!?) Work or construction crews blocking traffic from “their” street is rare, but they occasionally drag a trash dumpster into the center of the street to block cars.  As a pedestrian, I walk without hindrance under, over, or through debri and seriously big, moving equipment I’d never be allowed near in the U.S.



My new clothes washer heats its own water, rather than pulling from the home’s hot water source.   Makes sense!

It’s very common to have gas burners for stove top cooking and electric oven as one unit that otherwise looks like a freestanding range in the U.S.


Ummmmmmmm, there’s something growing on my walls and I don’t know anything about mold.  Do you?  I’ll ask the apartment owner, and let you know. This is a desert region, yes, but I’m living in a very, very old building and we’ve had rain rain rain, even some snow.


Challenges:  The mailman brings bills in a language I can’t read!  Imagine that. Texts and emails arrive in Hebrew as well, but they can be copied into Google Translater, which while not perfect, reveals most of the particulars.  One time I opted to trust a security guard at the medical insurance building, and asked whether he could tell me in Engish what a text said.  Sigh.  It was my bank telling me my bank account.  Lesson learned on that one.

Currently I have 5 documents that look like an assortment of bills plus 2 receipts for payments (?) that I can’t sort out.  I know of one immigrant whose provider didn’t bill him for an entire year and then demanded payment with penalties.  Perhaps that’s fight-able, but think about it: if one can’t sort out bills received, how to work through the system to solve a problem like that!?!  Again and again, I wonder how people do this while searching for or learning a new job in a new culture with kids doing the same and still setting up a new home and routines and and and.


Some bragging:

  1. Assembling my modular desk and computer/keyboard/monitor with transformer and all.
  2. Decision made about condo in Denver: I’m selling it!  The finances of renting were not sound, given HOA fees, insurance, tax along with the distraction of dealing with renters’ wanting this or that, the property manager’s availability/unavailability, and ultimately the realization that its time has passed for me and is not a home to which I need to return.  Perhaps by next blog I’ll have it under contract.  I’m very confident in the broker and relieved to not have the condo to deal with going forward
  3. Packing for this move: I’ve graded myself 95% for my preparation packing for this move.  There are a few opsies in terms of what I brought or didn’t bring, but none substantial.  The movers get a 90% with 2 plates of no emotional value broken, a small crack in the glass of a framed picture, and (the worst!) a couple of 1 inch scratches on a large, lovely photograph of San Francisco’s skyline dated prior to 1960, that has hung in my home virtually all of my life.  I took the S.F. photo to an art store and found an oil-based pencil to fill in the scratches – at this age, none of us are perfect.  I can live with the photograph’s imperfections more easily than my own.


The adjustment: The wave of Moments collide and contradict themselves:  This is sooooo right.  It’s where I belong.  The 19 year old girl I was, still lives within, and loved these streets, this life, during that life changing visit one college summer long ago.  What was I thinking!?!?!? Can I do this? God, show me how to deal with these feelings.  Why did I wait so long? How could I have doubted about this move?  I’m lost, figuratively and literally in a maze of spaghetti-like streets with ever changing names.  I’m learning and growing in ways I never could have without being HERE.  This is the perfect time in this place, this place of ME and this city.  Am I invisible? Don’t they see me? Do I matter to anyone?  That conversation was worth so much.  I’m inspired by their life and boldness and love and courage. Oh, God, give me the courage to tell others who I really am and Who You are in me.  I miss the comfort of familiar friends and solutions.  I love this fresh produce and the cuisine!  New is exhausting. I find myself feeling “ritualistic” after having done something once, thinking I must do it that way again, without even exploring other methods, routes, or options.  Mostly I’m sleeping well and feel strong, good.  I love this gym and the classes. Sometimes I have to bring my sorry-self home, like a tantruming 2-year-old and put myself down for a nap, lest terminal stupidity emerge in all its glory.


The replacement phone arrived, thanks to the Pam for bringing it, BUT now I’ve learned it’s “locked” and that unlocking it without a current Tmobile account may not be an easy task.  Locked means I can’t use it with any provider other than Tmobile, which is not viable here… so more processes to explore and the saga continues.  If you techies have any suggestions, I’m listening!



Gaza has ISIS causing trouble for Hamas.  Greater evil fights evil….


My 5-hour language class begins Sunday, Feb 1 (01/02/15), and will run 5 mornings per week for 5 months.  Shalom


I love your comments and emails, and look for them each day after posting.

Have a glorious week!!!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.