Thursday, December 13, 2007

BTT - online book cataloging

Well, I haven't answered in a long while but this one is up my alley:

Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like
Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))
If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

I didn't like Shelfari (and I tried something else I didn't like as well) but I do use LibraryThing. I started using it to keep track of the books I read and listened to in 2007 so I basically use it as a catalog, I don't use it as a social tool. I don't post reviews or rate or tag my books. There's a new site, Bookbump that looks promising. I am waiting for them to come up with an application that allows me to import my library from another program (LibraryThing) so I don't have to enter them all by hand. Although most of my books come from the library I also use Bookmooch and Paperbackswap to get rid of books (mostly paperbacks my husband buys when traveling) that I don't want to keep.

It's that time of year again

I found this great post on Penolope Trunk's Brazen Careerist blog titled Five things people say about Christmas that drive me nuts. All I can add to her post is amen. My radio station plays Christmas music exclusively and they don't play Grandma got run over by a reindeer that often (thank goodness for my audiobooks) and yesterday I bought a Chanukah gift bag and the cashier STILL asked me if I've done my Christmas shopping yet. I cannot wait for this season to end.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Me, me, I’m it!

This is so exciting – I’ve been tagged by Carolyn at Juggling Frogs to list 7 weird/random things about myself and then tag others. Although I am usually the first to delete these types of things when they show up in my inbox, in honor of finishing my second semester (and handing in all my assignments) and feeling like a full fledged member of the blogosphere, I’m going to play.
The Rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
4. Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog
So here goes:
1. I have 3 holes in my left ear, the second of which was done by my friend Melissa with a needle when we were 15 (hey, we sterilized it first, kind of).
2. I’ve never voted in a U.S. election. Before you get on my case, I was in Israel the year I was 18 (1984), made aliyah to Israel October 31, 1988, and lived there till last summer. Will have to see what happens next November. So far, I am NOT a registered voter.
3. I have a Hebrew name (used by my family) that Americans can’t pronounce and an English name (that I started using when I went to school) that Israelis can’t pronounce ensuring that I spend my life trying to figure out what I want to be called and never remembering what name I use with whom.
4. I once had a poem published in Teen magazine.
5. I have signed myself out of the hospital against medical advice.
6. I subscribe to 127 blogs in my Google Reader.
7. I’m addicted to the internet.

So who do I tag? Not seven others but these lucky four: Chava, at Wanna be there - trying to live here, A mother in Israel, JMC at 4 weddings and a funeral, Me-ander.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How Do You Spell Channukkahh

It's that time of year again. In the midst of all the X-mas carols, commercials, themed tv shows, and shopping we get to celebrate Chanukah. So for your listening enjoyment, the Leevees want to know how do you spell Chanukah. The rest of us know that's why you make aliyah - 'cuz there's only one way to spell it: חנוכה!
One week left till the semester is over - will write more then.
Happy Chanukah! חנוכה שמח!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our first California earthquake

We are now among the initiated. We have experienced our first California earthquake. It was about 8p.m. I was getting ready to go out to a shiur (yes I go to a shiur, get over it) and we were just sitting around the living room when all of a sudden everything started to shake. Maor and I thought it was our neighbors - we have some young guys living next door and they descend the steps with a giant leap that rocks our apartment for a minute. But this shaking kept on going. Arthur realized what it was and told us to stay calm. I have to be honest - it freaked me out! The earthquake's epicenter was about 15km (9mi) away from us. It lasted for 30 seconds (but felt much longer) and measured 5.6 on the Richter magnitude scale.

This is my first blog posting from my new Acer laptop computer (I did buy it from BestBuy but paid less than shown). It arrived by mail yesterday and tonight we got a router and Arthur did his magic and got me online. I am still getting used to it - first of all, this computer has Vista and not XP which until you get used to it (and maybe afterwards as well) makes you proclaim every 3 minutes or so "I hate Bill Gates and Microsoft!" I really need time though to explore, get used to it, and download and upload all the stuff I have on my home computer. Slowly, slowly. So now I don't need to fight with Maor anymore over the home computer when we both have homework. I will be very glad when this semester is over. I am enjoying one of my classes, tolerating another (which is required), and am sorely disappointed by the third. Registration for spring semester starts in about a week and a half and I know what classes I want to take - just hope I get them with the instructors I want.

I found a part time library job - in a law firm in downtown San Jose. Although I am not particularly interested in legal librarianship the librarian is very nice and easygoing and I hope I will start to gain some practical experience. Also, it is very laid back and the hours are flexible. I start this Thursday so that gives me one day to buy some clothing - I have nothing to wear! Thank goodness there are always sales going on. I am a terrible shopper so wish me luck!

Tommorrow is Haloween so of course the Christmas merchandise is already out in the stores. At least they're not playing carols yet. BTW, in case you think it's just me who can't take the Christmas season, read what Rabbi without a cause has to say about it. Maor's school hosts a movie/pizza night (for the younger kids) so there is an alternative to trick or treating.

Guess what Arthur is watching on TV? (I know you're tempted to say Law and Order or CSI or football but you're wrong) There's a show on public tv about the hitnatkut in Hebrew with English subtitles. It was filmed by the Israeli government and Arthur feels that it's propaganda.

Last Sunday Maor and I went to see Disney's High School Musical on Ice at the HP Pavillion. We had great seats and it was a fun show. This coming Sunday Arthur and Maor are going to see an Oakland Raiders football. I have opted out since I cannot for the life of me understand football.

Well, that is all the news for now. Take care and stay posted.

Friday, October 19, 2007

All quiet on the Western front

I know, I know, I've been very quiet lately.

I'll be honest - I haven't recovered from all the 3 day chagim yet - they totally knocked me out. I hated the davening - it was way too long and way too Ashkenazi.

Also, I am not having a great semester at school. I am taking 3 classes, one required and 2 electives. One of my instructors is good, one is so-so, and one is a total dud. There is so much reading and so many assignments, both individual and group, and I feel like I am always playing catch up. I feel like I never have time to breathe - as soon as I finish one thing it is on to the next.

I started looking for a part time job but so far haven't found anything. I want to get some experience in the library or information field. I've had a few interviews but that's about it.

Arthur is back to traveling and Maor is doing okay. Not too much is going on but I wanted to drop a line and say hi!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A cure for Israeli chutzpah?

Kol hakavod to David over at Treppenwitz for the non-abusive way he dealt with the classic and frustrating situation of a shopper in the express line with a cartful of groceries. You can read how he came out a winner and a hero to all the shoppers behind him at [Waste] my time...[Spend] your money.

In Jameel's comment on the above he mentions a contest being sponsored by Ronny Maman, an Israeli who returned to Israel after 18 years in the USA. His Center for manners (derech eretz) is offering $60,000 as an incentive for YOU to send in a practical idea on how to improve Israeli behavior through manners. The idea must cause the reader to implement and use it as a means to improve behavior (that means no philosophical ponderings, they want tachlit). The best 100 ideas will be featured in a book the center will publish.

The website is Hebrew only so here are the relevant details in English:
Deadline: January 22nd, 2008 (Tu B’Shvat)
Mailing address: Rehov Achuza 96, P. O. Box 26, Ranaana, Israel
Fax: 09-7409592 (+972-9-740-9592 internationally)
Winners announced: June 6, 2008

The contest is open to all ages so get those creative juices flowing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And now a sukkot video

Thanks to Frum Satire for posting it on his blog.

A video for Yom Kippur

Thanks to Billy Ray Sheet.

Gmar Chatima Tova!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Rosh Hashana and Sukkot meal planners

Carolyn from Juggling Frogs has posted these neat meal planners for you to download for Rosh Hashana, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah. Go check it out!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A long overdue post OR back to reality

Well, back to reality. After a great, relaxing, low key summer back home in Israel it is back to the real world and the daily grind.

It was great to be home this summer and no it really wasn't weird to see other people living in our house (not to me at least). Maor was a bit upset that they put Winnie the Pooh stickers up in her room but we assured her they come off quite easily. Again I need to thank our friends for hosting us and especially Les and Leeann (and Tomer and Chagit) who took us in for almost the entire 2 months.

Reflections on the summer:
1. It is wonderful being able to walk into a supermarket and buying anything you want without having to look at hechsherim. And the abundance and variety of the fresh meat counter is unbelievable!
2. Things really do progress - sometimes you just need to step away for a while to see it. On the macro scale, many roads that were being worked on have been opened. The road (531 I think) that connects Kvish 6 at Tzomet Chorshim to Tzomet Ra'anana (without having to drive through Kfar Saba and get stuck at every red light on Weizman) is a joy. One side of the machlef at Tzomet Glilot (coming from Herzlia Pituach) is open although traffic still backs up. And the entrance to Yerushalayim has undergone changes as well. On a micro scale, there are new mailboxes on the yishuv, conveniently located near the office. There is a nice little flower garden near the beit knesset which was planted last Tu B'shvat in Liam's memory. And last but not least, Zufim has a new roundabout complete with fountain, affectionately dubbed kikar halama.
3. The corollary - some things never change. Or in other words, Israeli politics. Are we really going to have elections with Ehud Barak and Bibi Netanyahu? Again? The government is still corrupt and aggravating as anything. One of the first things Shimon Peres did after becoming president was pardon Naomi Blumenthal. And Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser, and Eldad Regev STILL are not home.
4. As the poem says: make new friends but keep the old; those are silver these are gold. Although we have made some good friends in San Jose, it is nice to be among the people who have known you for a while. They know your history, the good and the bad, and some things just don't need to be explained. We were blessed to have some of our "old" old friends and "newer" old friends with us at Maor's bat mitzvah. Thank you for being a friend.

And one reflection on coming back to San Jose: it is MUCH EASIER coming back when you know what is waiting for you. Although Maor was sad to leave Israel (and so was I) once we got back, she was fine. She has friends here. She knows the school. She knows most of the teachers. So far, the transition has been fairly smooth.

I started school August 24th and Maor started the 28th. I am taking 3 classes this semester and once again I am floored by how much work it is. (I know, I know, it's graduate school, quit whining)
There is so much reading assigned and though I love reading for pleasure, I am not so keen on school reading. One of my classes is required: Information Organizations and Management, a challenge for me since I've never worked in a library and never been a manager. My other 2 classes compliment each other which is a nice bonus: online searching (Yes, there is actually a class in that. It deals mostly with one particular database, Dialog, but the skills should be transferable) and vocabulary design (when you search for mercury how do you get information on Mercury the planet as opposed to mercury the element or the car). So I feel overwhelmed (again) and like I never have enough time (good thing I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the summer).

Maor's teachers are basically the same except for her language arts teacher. The exciting news at her school is that they got a whole bunch of new kids, some from the closing of Etz Chaim, the smaller Jewish day school in San Jose, and others from Israel or wherever. So middle school has gained about 20+ kids, many of whom she knows from our shul/neighborhood. She now has 12 kids in her class, 7 boys and 5 girls. And I have people to carpool with. A new experience.

Well, I doubt I will blog again before next week (YIKES, is Rosh Hashana really so soon?! You know Pesach is only 6 months away, right? Oh wait, it's a leap year, 2 Adarim) so let me take this opportunity to wish you all a shana tova and ktiva u'chatima tova. May the new year bring you peace, health, happiness, and all the good things you wish for yourselves.

And as promised, better late than never, attached are some pictures from Maor's Bat Mitzvah. May we only celebrate smachot together.

AND I changed the settings so all of you who told me you couldn't leave comments on the blog itself should now be able to (so no excuses guys).

View a slideshow of Maor's bat mitzvah:

Click below to see some pictures from Maor's bat mitzvah:

Bat mitzvah

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Books are for enjoyment, dammit!

I came across this great article by Harry Mount, Our reverence for books is ludicrous in which he basically says that we should read books for enjoyment and not because we want to pretend to be cultured, well-read snobs. His opening paragraph is entertaining, thought provoking, and right on:

Do you ever start talking to an incredibly boring person at a party and say to yourself, after five minutes: "Well, he's incredibly boring, but I'll talk to him for another 30 hours. He's bound to get better." Or, when you've finished with a newspaper you've enjoyed, do you ever put it on a shelf on prominent display so that you can admire it from a distance and never read it again?

I admit that this used to be me - if I started a book, I had to finish it, no matter how painful and debilitating this was. What cured me? My daughter's fourth grade English teacher. We live in Israel and my daughter was in the native English speakers' English class. When it was time for their first book report her teacher gave out guidelines which stated that one section of the book report needed to be "why I liked this book." The teacher said: "Do not say I did not like this book. Reading is for enjoyment. There are enough books to choose from. If you don't like the book, put it back and choose another one." WOW! So simple and yet it was like an epiphany for me. Why didn't I ever think of that myself? I do not have to read every single book ever published. My tastes change over time and are influenced by many things. Today I try genres that I was never a huge fan of before. And if I hate the book and can't get through it, so be it. I have enough books on my TBR list that I WANT to read. Sometimes I will listen to a book on audiotape if I think it is something I should read but don't think I'll be able to get through it. Sometimes it works out okay - Steinbeck's Cannery Row which I listened to after visiting Monterey was boring but bearable and other times, the audio can be agony as well (I abandoned Reading Lolita in Tehran in the middle but suffered through six hours of The Road).

Now thanks to Harry Mount's article I no longer need to feel guilty for being the worst read English major or for the fact that try as I might, I just CANNOT make it through Moby Dick (thank you Mr. Cliff).

Monday, August 6, 2007

How am I behaving

I found this great picture at Jameel's The Muqata blog. Too good not to post.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Real Zionists make aliyah

I found this very interesting post titled The Aliyah Guilt Trip at Friar Yid's blog. I was lead here by a post on Oy Bay, the Jewish Blog by the Bay, which I subscribe to.

Friar Yid discusses comments made by Rabbi Avi Weiss, of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah on the Israel National News (Arutz 7) Aliyah Revolution radio show. Rabbi Weiss states, “A Zionist is someone who lives in Israel” and as a strong supporter of Zionism he classifies himself as a doresh Zion, or seeker of Zion. Friar Yid takes exception to Rabbi Weiss' remarks and feels that Diaspora Jews in general, and American Jews in particular should not be guilted into feeling inferior for choosing to stay where they are.

Many moons ago when I was a newlywed making every decision with an eye towards aliyah, we attended a Jewish Federation gathering in Philadelphia (I think) and the old timers were wearing buttons that said "Real Zionists pay Dues." Of course we young die hard Zionists who were really going to make aliyah laughed this off and someone ran out and got t-shirts or buttons printed "Real Zionists make Aliyah."

I don't think anyone should be made to feel guilty for their life choices but what can I say, I do believe that Israel is the place for Jews to be. Part of it is probably related to being the daughter of a holocaust survivor but I just feel like Israel is home. If you missed my previous post here again are 12 things I love about living in Israel:
1. Being in a supermarket before any holiday and knowing that everyone is in the same boat, religious or non-religious, Sephardic or Ashkenazi; - everyone is hosting or being hosted, buying rimonin, matzot, cheese for cheesecake.
2. The period between Pesach and Shavuot, when Israeli flags are flying throughout the country for the upcoming Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim.
3. The togetherness and solemnity of Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, when the country shuts down its stores and entertainment.
4. Knowing if chalilah something is wrong by the music on the radio.
5. Really feeling the New Year start in the fall, with Rosh Hashana, as the whole country gets ready for the chagim.
6. Acharei hachagim, and how nothing gets done until then.
7. The kids can play outdoors and go to friends by themselves.
8. Dropping in and visiting neighbors without advance notice.
9. Finding short sleeve or elbow length shirts year round.
10. Not paying thousands of dollars a year for my child to get a Jewish education.
11. Hebrew rap music (Hadag nachash, Subliminal)
12. The feeling that I am truly at home.

It is far from perfect and by no means a Utopia, but it is ours, warts and all. And as Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz, "there's no place like home."

Shameless nepotism

My youngest cousin's husband, Avi, is a musician, and he and his friend, Ronen provided the music at Maor's bat mitzvah party. They were excellent and received many compliments. Avi is a member of a band, Para Aduma, and they will be playing at the Klezmer Festival in Zfat on August 13th, 29 Av, 22:00-23:00. If you're in Israel, go hear them play!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday's Feast

I found this meme on Melody's Reading Corner. Friday's Feast is a meme of five questions cooked up by the chef each and every week. Here are my answers to feast #154.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how polite are you?
I'd say I'm an 8 with strangers, probably a 7 with my family. I try to always say please and thank you and generally be polite to people.

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
Something that Snape said to Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I finished it Thursday morning).
Who is your favorite cartoon character?
Scooby Doo. Ever since I'm a kid.
Main Course

Tell about the funniest teacher you ever had.
When I was in second grade our teacher was ill with cancer and we had this substitute who couldn't control the class. She was pretty entertaining. She once threw an eraser at a boy in my class because he kept getting all the words right in the spelling bee.

Complete this sentence: I strongly believe that Mosiach is coming!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Win a 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV!!!

No this is not a scam/money pyramid/chain letter/joke!
5 minutes for mom is having a contest sponsored by Best Buy and the prize is an Insignia® 37" Flat-Panel LCD HDTV. To enter the contest (free!!!) just leave a comment at 5 minutes for mom's contest post by August 17th and if you have a blog link to the contest.
Good luck!!!!

My friend's son lent me his copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Yes, you're right. This post should really be all about Maor's bat mitzvah party which was very nice thanx for asking. I was going to post about it once I got the pictures back so I could post together. But now I'm not sure when I'll have photos so bli neder I will post about her party soon.
Way more exciting is I GOT MY HANDS ON THE NEW HARRY POTTER BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Since being in California I don't buy books any more. I just use the public libraries which are awesome (read my previous post on tools for book lovers). So of course I put a hold on the new Harry Potter book at 2 different libraries and then realized they would become available while I'm in Israel. I then put a hold on the book (and the CD version) under Maor's name and suspended the hold so it comes due when I get home. I asked Arthur to bring me the book from the library when he came but even though he went with my library card they wouldn't give it to him. Bummer!
Well, my neighbor's son, E, spent the last 8 months in Perth, Australia under the auspices of Torah Mitzion and his mom casually mentioned tonight that he brought the new Harry Potter book with him. I said to her nobody else in your house is going to read it in English, right? To which she replied no. Off I ran to ask E if I could have the book when he finishes it. He said to me, it will take me a while to read it, will you finish it within 2 weeks? I said, are you kidding me, I'll finish it over Shabbat. So he said take it.
Me: Are you sure?
E: Yes, go ahead.
Me: No, you read it first.
E: It's fine, take it.
Talk about joy!!! So, as soon as I finish posting, even though it's after midnight, I am going to shower and start reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!!!
BTW, if you are not familiar with the Harry Potter audiobooks read by Jim Dale you should check them out. He is amazing and they are great to listen to. An interesting article about the rise of audiobooks in general can which also mentions Jim Dale can be found here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Greetings from Israel

Haven't been able to post since I've arrived - I am at the whims and mercies of other people's computers which is difficult when you are as addicted to the net as I am. The unread items just keep piling up in my Google Reader and I can't stay on top of it.

I am having a lazy summer, just hanging out. It is Rosh Chodesh Av which means Maor's bat mitzvah party is getting close. I did buy Maor an outfit for the party, way too expensive of course, but can you really put a price on your child's happiness (not to mention the mother's happiness after FINALLY finding something she likes in the 6th store you've been into!)? Of course I can't find anything for myself to wear. As my friend's daughter said to me, wear anything and afterwards we'll just change it in photoshop. Ah, the joys of technology. Other than that I think I am doing okay - the menu is set, Maor is making an album for her friends to sign (with much prodding), and hopefully she and I will both get help in composing something to say. I have several men lined up whose job it is to keep Arthur calm (he arrives that morning) which is the biggest thing I'm worried about. As we say over here, Yihiye b'seder, יהיה בסדר.

There really isn't much else to tell, but didn't want anyone to think I am abandoning my blog. Have a great summer!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

All my bags are packed....

Well, after a morning of frantic phone calls to the National Passport Information Center and the airline I think I should be okay with my flight this evening. I will just fly out with my Israeli passport and renew my US passport when I get to Israel. I made an appointment for July 3rd at the embassy in Tel Aviv, got passport photos at Walgreens, and completed and printed the renewal form. The joys of the internet! After a much needed cup of coffee I was able to calm down enough to finish packing. I think I'm good. Arthur came home from Texas and is napping, Maor made last minute phone calls to Israel to be sure they roll out the red carpet, and made me sign her up for the Bnei Akiva trip to Superland and the masa.
I've got dollars, Euros (stopover in Germany, unfortunately), and Shkalim, passports, credit cards, gum, nosh, crossword puzzle magazines, books, MP3 players for both Maor and myself with audiobooks. Sounds like we're all set, right?
I don't know how much I'll post when I'm in Israel (or how I'll manage to read all my blog subscriptions) so for now, wishing everyone a great summer!

My last minute late night discovery

Well, Maor and I are leaving for Israel tomorrow evening (actually today since it's after midnight). Can't believe it. I am almost done packing, doing some last minute laundry (it never ends!) and trying to get organized. So I decided to photograph my important documents with the digital camera so I'd have a record of everything. (Just a bit of paranoia since my wallet was stolen in NY last summer) And lo and behold, I discovered that my US passport expires June 30, 2007! So I can get to Israel but getting home may be a bit of a problem. And of course tomorrow is Sunday so no passport offices are open. So guess I'll either be mailing it in for renewal or heading over to the US embassy in Tel Aviv this week. Ah, the joys of travel.

Friday, June 22, 2007

July 4th giveaway


Susan and Janice from 5 minutes for mom are giving away some goodies in honor of the 4th of July. Their first contest is for a Krups Ice Cream Maker and Rosanna Sweet Dreams Bowl and theire second contest is for a custom Land's End bathing suit so click on over and check it out!

List of books

I found this at Alyson's blog, Bibilophiles Anonymous.

Look at the list of books below:
Bold the ones you’ve read
Mark in blue the ones you want to read
Cross out the ones that you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole (or use red coloring)
Finally, italicize the ones you've never heard of.
If you are reading this (and haven't participated yet), tag, you’re it!

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)

17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

To be fair, some of the books I read as a student and wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole today (anything Dickens) and there are books that I feel I should read such as Little Women.

Does Your English Cut the Mustard?

I found this fun quiz on Alice's blog, Hello, My Name is Alice. Click the link below my score to test YOUR skills. As you can see, I will not be winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee anytime soon.

Your English Skills:

Vocabulary: 100%

Grammar: 80%

Punctuation: 80%

Spelling: 40%

Thursday, June 21, 2007

School Days, Golden Rules Days

It's Thursday so here's this week's BTT:

Since school is out for the summer (in most places, at least), here’s a school-themed question for the week:
1. Do you have any old school books? Did you keep yours from college? Old textbooks from garage sales? Old workbooks from classes gone by?

Well I was an English major in college a million years ago so I kept some anthologies and also some books from a class I took in children's literature. Now that I'm getting my masters degree (I hope, just finished my first semester so maybe that's a bit premature) and there's a culminating project it's been advised to keep the textbooks, so for now, that's what I'm doing.

2. How about your old notes, exams, papers? Do you save them? Or have they long since gone to the great Locker-in-the-sky?

You've got to be kidding! No old notes, exams, anything. I've got enough clutter as it is! LOL. I barely keep my kids' school stuff anymore, just odds and ends. And today, so much is done on the computer so it's saved for prosperity - unless the computer crashes (God forbid!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tools for book lovers

The web site Lifehacker which recommends software downloads and web sites that save time has a post on 13 book hacks for the library crowd and it is worth checking out.

My favorite so far, even though I just signed up for it tonight is ELF, a site that helps you track and manage your library accounts. As you know, since coming to California I have fallen in love with the public libraries and I am now the proud owner of 4 library cards (for now). Maor has 2 library cards. As you can imagine, it can get complicated tracking what books you have out, when they're due, what holds are waiting for you, and so on. ELF does all the work for you and sends you e-mail reminders and updates. As a matter of fact, once I put in all my information, ELF informed me that one of my holds is waiting for me and I haven't gotten the notice from the library itself yet!

Another site that seems promising is paperback swap, which is similar to bookmooch. Both sites let you swap your books with others. On bookmooch you get points for both listing books and sending books, as well as leaving feedback. On paperback swap you are given 3 points to get started and then you get points when you send books out. I've been signed up on bookmooch for a little while with no action but already on paperback swap I ordered 2 books and it looks like someone wants a book I have. I generally don't buy books (see above re library cards!) but Arthur buys books when he travels so I am trying to swap them. Will see how it goes.

If you would like to try paperback swap for yourself just click here:

What is RSS?

After reading this post my cousin Yossi said I should explain what RSS is. Well, I can't but Lee from commoncraft does an excellent job:

Win a free iPod Shuffle

Mark W. Shead, the author of Productivity501, a site which brings you tips and tricks to help increase your productivity, is giving away a free iPod Shuffle. Checkout the details of the contest here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Excellent picture which sums up Israeli politicians

Thanks to my daughter, Maor, for sending it to me!

Friday, June 15, 2007


These pictures made me homesick. 12 days till we're there.

Thursday Thirteen

This seems like a fun thing to try so here goes.
1. Go to Google.
2. Type your name and the word "needs" in quotes in the search engine and hit the button. Give us 13 that make sense, if you can.

Before I give you my answers, let's give credit where credit is due. I saw this first at Reading is my Superpower who credits Educating Petunia who credits A Fraternity of Dreamers and JellyJules who credits Scarlett.

So here goes:
1. Fern needs an overhaul. Well, I probably do but don't we all?! (And isn't it just a bit rude to mention it?)

2. Fern needs a companion. Hmm. Not really. A person can never have too many friends though.

3. Fern needs no teeth! Well, thankfully mine still work pretty well.

4. [Lazy] fern needs more volunteers to work on it. I am lazy it's true and if someone wants to whip me into shape, they are more than welcome to try.

5. Fern needs to be seen and heard to be appreciated. I couldn't agree more!

6. Fern needs no supplemental water during the summer. Unless it gets really hot!

7. Fern needs to be mowed down. I think that's a bit extreme, don't you?

8. Fern needs acid. Acid is a bit much but perhaps some other feel good pills...

9. Fern needs plenty of room as it will grow to be a large specimen. Well I do need my own space but I am trying very hard not to become a large specimen!

10. Fern needs protection from hot afternoon sun. Which is why I always wear a baseball cap outdoors.

11. Fern needs a humid environment. I don't mind the heat but you can keep the humidity.

12. Fern needs to get rid of a spider. Not at the moment but it's true I am not a big fan of spiders.

13. Fern needs your support . So send your checks to P.O.B....

This was a lot of fun! Try it for yourselves!

School's out

Well, today was Maor's last day of school. On Tuesday the 4th-8th graders went to an amusement park, Great America, and I accompanied them. They divide the kids into groups based on ride thrill levels (low, medium, high) of the rides they want and a teacher or parent accompanies each group. The eighth graders got to walk around in pairs or they could hook up with a group. Another parent and I had a medium level group of 7 kids (including Maor) and an eighth grader hung out with us. I only went on one ride, the tame (despite its name) Rip Roaring Rapids. The kids had a great time.

One of the nice things about this year has been that I've had the opportunity to volunteer at Maor's school since I wasn't working. In Israel I rarely was able to accompany her class or do much during the day. I volunteered one day a week in the school library and helped out with various activities, such as the Scholastic book fair. Today I helped with the end of year teacher luncheon that the principal's wife hosts.

Now I am in high gear for getting ready for our trip to Israel. I am a bit worried that I'm going for too long (2 months) and I hope we don't wear out our welcome. I know Maor will have a great time but what am I going to do?! I bought myself a new toy and downloaded 4 audiobooks: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, Exile by Richard North Patterson, The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I am also bringing 2 books with me, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon and Independence Day by Richard Ford.

I also have a big cross stitch project which I haven't started yet, Kimono Row, from a book called A Cross Stitcher's Oriental Odyssey by Joan Elliot.

And of course there's the new Harry Potter book to look forward to, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which comes out 10 days after the fifth movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Here's a cute song by Urban Tapestry about the upcoming book.

Yesterday I ran around buying paper goods for Maor's bat mitzvah party which will be on July 26th, 11 Av, im yirtze Hashem. I thought I had so much time to organize and buy everything I wanted and all of a sudden I'm leaving in 10 days and I'm not even done printing out the invitations (why am I doing it myself?!). I've also been buying things to decorate the tables. It seems that I'm doing all the work and Arthur and Maor are just going to show up. Story of my life.

Yesterday evening I registered for school for Fall 2007. I am taking 3 classes next semester: Information Organizations and Management (a requirement), Vocabulary Design, and Information Technology Tools and Applications - Advanced -
Library and Web 2.0. All 3 classes are online only. I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew. I would like to find a part time job as well, in the library field, but for that I need to redo my resume which I have been avoiding. Maybe over the summer.

Okay, my eyes are getting tired and Maor is screaming for the computer so I will sign off for now.

No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks!

Dessert first

1. Do you cheat and peek ahead at the end of your books? Or do you resolutely read in sequence, as the author intended?

No, I don't think I've ever cheated and peeked ahead to the end. It's not really the ending that's important, IMHO, but the whole journey.

2. And, if you don’t peek, do you ever feel tempted?

Not really. I'm usually content to keep plodding through until I reach the end.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A day without GOOGLE

You may not know it but there are many search engines out there in cyberspace besides Google.

At the blog Alternative search engines, they post a top 100 list and monthly updates. The June top 100 can be found here in an excel worksheet and the history of the list can be found here.

AltSearchEngines is asking everyone to go one day (6 am - midnight), this Tuesday, without using one of the major search engines; Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, or Ask.

And just to give you an idea/a taste of alternative search engines, here are a few examples:
Snooth - personalized wine recommendations (hey I'm in California, land of the wine snobs)
Sputtr - a collection of all your favorite search engines on one page.
Cognition health search - uses natural language and allows you to search various reliable sites for health information and journal articles.

Something about me challenge

I found this interesting and low key reading challenge where you choose 5 books which represent you in some way, post them on the Something about Me reading challenge blog, and on August 5th, choose 5 books from other people's list to read. I had a tough time coming up with my list because I can't remember everything I've read and I really wanted to choose books that 1) I've read 2) I liked 3) represented me. So without further ado, here is my list, in no particular order:
1. Beach Music by Pat Conroy. This is my all time favorite book and I have read it a few times. I chose it because like one of the characters, my father was a holocaust survivor, although I don't think I'm as messed up as the character is by this.
2. Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Chosen because I love chocolate!
3. Good Grief by Lolly Winston. I chose this book because like the main character I live in Silicon Valley and came because of my husband's job.
4. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I chose this haunting book because I had a teenage daughter who died, but not as gruesomely as the main character in this book, thank God.
5. The World According to Garp by John Irving. Chosen because like Garp, I too harbor anxieties about my child's safety.

I will let you know what books I chose to read after I pick.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Encore, encore

At the meme Booking through Thursday Deb writes: "If you could have just ONE more book from an author you love . . .Who would the author be, and why?"

This is very timely for me since I am listening to my all time favorite book on audio, Beach Music, by Pat Conroy. I have read this book several times and even though I'm an avid reader (currently reading: Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child) Beach Music has never been displaced from its #1 spot in my heart. Although Mr. Conroy has written other works since Beach Music in 1995, including the autobiographical My Losing Season, there have been no new novels since then.

So I have to say that I would LOVE to read a new novel by Pat Conroy and I am always on the lookout hoping that one day it will appear. If you are not familiar with Pat Conroy or his books, you should run not walk to your nearest library, bookstore, or online secondhand bookseller to try one of his books. Pat Conroy was born in Atlanta, Georgia and was a military brat who moved 23 times before he was 18. His books take place in the south and his most well known book is probably Prince of Tides which was made into a major motion picture with Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte. Beach Music tells the story of Jack McCall who flees to Rome to raise his young daughter after his wife commits suicide. It spans 3 decades of life in South Carolina while dealing with both Vietnam and the Holocaust. It is an engrossing story that doesn't let you go.

P.S. Read JMC's post about Beach Music which appeared a day after mine here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Blogging the day away

I have been getting very into blogs, my not so techie friends. So I have been toying with the idea of making what is essentially a journal more of a blog, with more frequent postings, links, thoughts, ramblings, etc. I hope you will enjoy the new format which will be a learning experience for me.

So first of all, Maor had a great time on her SEED shabbaton in New York.

She met girls from all over the USA and had a full program of fun things to bring the group together including a surprise trip (with the girls blindfolded) to the beach! Both my NY cousins went to visit Maor while she was in NY. She came home Sunday tired and happy.

So I am now subscibed to about 50 different blogs, about libraries, Israel, Judaism, books, and web 2.0. I have started using Google Reader to get automatic updates of the feeds. One of the interesting things I found today is the following:

Nefesh B'Nefesh is initiating a simple project this week called "12 to 12". We are asking every Oleh to compose a list of 12 great things you appreciate and love about living in Israel and email your message to 12 (or more) friends abroad.If you send this out to your friends, please CC when you send it out.Please send out your letter before Friday June 8.

So here is my list:

12 things I love about living in Israel:
1. Being in a supermarket before any holiday and knowing that everyone is in the same boat, religious or non-religious, Sephardic or Ashkenazi; - everyone is hosting or being hosted, buying rimonin, matzot, cheese for cheesecake.
2. The period between Pesach and Shavuot, when Israeli flags are flying throughout the country for the upcoming Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim.
3. The togetherness and solemnity of Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, when the country shuts down its stores and entertainment.
4. Knowing if chalilah something is wrong by the music on the radio.
5. Really feeling the New Year start in the fall, with Rosh Hashana, as the whole country gets ready for the chagim.
6. Acharei hachagim, and how nothing gets done until then.
7. The kids can play outdoors and go to friends by themselves.
8. Dropping in and visiting neighbors without advance notice.
9. Finding short sleeve or elbow length shirts year round.
10. Not paying thousands of dollars a year for my child to get a Jewish education.
11. Hebrew rap music (Hadag nachash, Subliminal)
12. The feeling that I am truly at home.

And here are links to several others:

Life in Israel

A Mother in Israel

Maor needs the computer for her homework and I need to make supper before my ice skating lesson, so signing off for now.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Long time no write...

First of all, as you can see, I've moved my blog and I hope this site will be more user friendly (for me at least). I am still figuring out how to deal with my photos so stay tuned.

I know, I know - I've been totally delinquent in my writing duties. For a while I was very busy with school - I had a big research paper due and I could not focus on anything else. I am happy to report that my semester is over and I am getting A's in both my classes! June 11th I can register for the fall semester. I hope to take 3 classes.
The year is winding down. I cannot believe it's almost June. At first time seemed to drag for me but now it just flies by. Maor finishes school June 14th. We've had a bar and bat mitzvah of people we've gotten friendly with in the community - the bat mitzvah was in a conservative shul and the girl read from the Torah. It was very interesting, not what I am used to. Arthur is doing a lot of traveling for work and I am trying to finalize plans for the summer and Maor's bat mitzvah party in Israel. Maor and I are coming the end of June until the end of August and various friends on Zufim have graciously agreed to put us up (or put up with us) for some of that time. Arthur will be coming for a short time since somebody has to earn a living.
Maor is going to a shabbaton in New York this weekend and is very excited. She and one other girl from her school were chosen to participate in this shabbaton sponsored by a Jewish kiruv organization and they flew out this afternoon and will return on Sunday. I was so nervous/excited that I locked my keys in the car! Thank goodness for AAA. As Arthur is in Texas I will be alone for Shabbat.
As you may (or may not) know, this past weekend was Memorial Day weekend. So motzei Shavuot we headed down to San Diego which is about a 7-8 hour drive away from us. We stopped for the night along the way and thought we'd make it to San Diego early on Friday but we got a late start and hit traffic so it was basically a travel day. We made it to the kosher food store right before closing and bought some food for Shabbat, then headed over to our hotel. Shabbat morning we went to a Chabad minyan in the Chabad Hebrew Academy which according to the map was a 37 minute walk away from the hotel. In reality, it took about an hour but it was a nice walk and Chabad starts davening at 10:00 anyway. The school campus is really beautiful and quite large. The Rabbi, Rabbi Yonah Fradkin and his wife, Leah, graciously invited us for lunch and we had a wonderful time at their home. Two of their sons and one of their daughters were there as well, as well as another couple, and it was a very interesting meal. One of his sons, Rabbi Motti Fradkin, is very charismatic and funny, teaches middle school, and entertained Maor by telling her he can say "We want moshiach now" in 18 languages! He got stuck at 16 but was helped by his brother who added it in Portugese and he used pig latin as the last one! He also said he is often mistaken for Matisyahu (this link is for Arthur who has no clue who that is!) We got back to the hotel at about 17:00, napped and hung out till Shabbat was over (Arthur napped, Maor hung out – LOL. I read a book) and then went out for pizza at Orly's cafe.
Sunday morning we got an early start and after breakfast headed out to the San Diego Zoo. We got there before the zoo opened and were able to enjoy the first bus tour (no lines) and the zoo before it got too hot or crowded. The zoo is huge and beautiful. We saw panda bears sleeping, a polar bear eating his morning fish, and watched one gorilla swipe food from another. Arthur and Maor got to feed giraffes. We headed back to the hotel for a short rest and then headed over to Seaworld which was open till 23:00. Seaworld was very crowded even though we got there at about 17:00 and we ran around trying to see the shows. We saw a sea lion show Clyde and Seamore's Risky Rescue, Dolphin Discovery with bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales, and saw the last show in the park for the night, Shamu Rocks. The Shamu show is amazing but unfortunately you will have to take my word for it because the camera battery died and I have no pictures.
Even though it was already getting cold and dark, Maor insisted on going on
the Shipwreck Rapids ride and she and I got soaked and were freezing! We headed back to the hotel cold, wet, and tired but satisfied. I would have liked to spend more time in Seaworld. Guess we'll have to go back or make it to Seaworld in Orlando, Florida.
Monday morning we managed to get an early start again and went to the
San Diego Wild Animal Park. We did the journey into Africa tour again with no waiting and then enjoyed the rest of the park walking around. We saw an elephant show and learned that 7 African elephants who were going to be killed because of overpopulation in Swaziland were brought over to San Diego in 2003. We learned about tigers and saw 3 beautiful cubs with their mother. We then watched a Bengal tiger get fed (and roar!) and learned that these beautiful white striped tigers are actually a recessive mutation. Both the zoo and wild animal park are involved in conservation and preservation efforts.
San Diego is home to many interesting museums located in Balboa Park, which is also home to the zoo. Maor vetoed every single museum so maybe in about 10 years or so when she matures a bit.
We then began our long
drive back home and except for about half an hour between San Diego and Los Angeles, we didn't hit traffic and made it home (with stops for bathroom, gas, and coffee) at about 22:30. And a good time was had by all.
As much of an internet junkie as I was before, I am learning about all these new technologies and things you can do online (
Web 2.0, I hope to take a class next semester) through my studies so using Google maps I created a map of the places we've visited in California and other important places (where we live, Maor's school).

I am trying Picasa for my photos so please click HERE to view my album or sit back and enjoy the show :


Quote: " Eway antway osiachmay ownay"

Translation from pig latin to English: "We want mosiach now"

Interesting web site:
Incredible Things to Do on the Internet