Friday, October 13, 2017


This was the view yesterday from my house and one from Solano Avenue. The sun is actually blood red - the camera doesn't quite capture it.

These fires are just awful, I am not sure what other words to use.

Just last week I was in Mendocino. Driving up 101 north and west on 128 I was struck firstly, by the beauty of Northern California, especially in this season as the grape leaves in the vineyards are beginning to turn, and shades of russett appear as if a painter had just added them into his painting of the tawny, golden hills. Bucolic and peaceful looking, far from the woes of the world. However, I was also struck by how tinder dry everything appears, despite the fact that we did have rains this winter. I mentioned this to my friends and she told me how difficult it is for them to get fire insurance. At this point I will quickly add that they are, so far, fine.

I have never watched disaster movies, but right now I feel that we are unwilling spectators in an endless movie.

Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, the volcano threatening to erupt in Bali -the world is really out of balance, and I am not even mentioning HWSNBN.

I am also struck by how people are helping each other, This is one of the encouraging things that happen in disasters and wars. It is lovely to know that humanity can act in this manner. Perhaps we should try to always behave with consideration and compassion, all the time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

God's Little Creatures

I have a confession to make. This is something that is really hard for me to admit, because I am, for the most part, rather a courageous woman, even if I say so myself.

On the surface of things I state and in fact, feel, that I believe in the right to life of all sentient beings, from the tiniest ant, to the largest elephant. I am a defender of sentient beings. I have attended meditation retreats where we vow to spend 10 days in silence, and to not harm any sentient being. How well I remember a retreat in the foggy dampness of a redwood forest in Northern California. We lined up for showers - coldwater showers, in silence. I remember when I stepped in the shower and there on the wall was this most unappealing slug looking thing. It was big, at least 3 " long - magnifying in my mind to at least 3 feet. It had these pine needle looking things sticking out of its head. I was new in America, and new in California. How could I know that this was the state mollusk. A banana slug - something I had never before seen or encountered. It was all I could do to stifle a wild piercing scream.

I shared a bedroom with my sister in South Africa. I seemed to be the only one in our house who stayed up late, lying in bed reading, or studying. Always poring over a book, the light of my bedside lamp to my left, close to my head.

All was quiet, and I savored this time, then the moths would come. I am completely petrified of moths. I remember screamiing in our room one night because there was a zebra moth (black and white stripes) who had flown into our room seeking the light. My father held the moth in his hand, trying to show me how beautiful it was and telling me that it wouldn't, couldn't, do anything to hurt me. All the while I trembled and shrieked and cowered down, hands over my head.

Once when I was living on kibbutz during a period of terror attacks I saw this thing crawl into my home - it was really ugly - I saw horns and fierce eyes, and an artillery shell on its back. I looked at it as it crept even closer and Iyelled. My neighbour came running into my home with his Uzi, prepared to defend me, to defend us. I stood there frozen to a spot pointing at this thing - "Ah Nesta," he said, lowering his Uzi "that is just an artzav." (whatever that is in English I don't know.) Some insect that eats the roots of trees."

I have never attempted to squash or kill these creatures that come in the night, or during the day, or whenever they please - instead I scream and cower and pray, and try to shoo them out.

These fear and horrors have not abated with age. One of the joys of living in Northern California is that it is for the most part, benign.

Today at work, the woman I work for (I am a 'sales associate') called me from outside the back door near the garbage.

"Be careful when you take out the garbage tonight," she said. She pointed to what looked like a stick under a handle of the lid of the garbage. However, the stick was clinging upside down it seemed, with four legs around the handle. We approached it carefully to observe this thing. It really looked like a small broken piece of branch, or wood, except for those legs. It was not moving, and we did not see wings or eyes or anything, but it did cling, unmoving. I picked up a little twig and she took it from me and held it out to the thing and feinted a poke - we both screamed. The stick remained still, sticklike. She poked again. Again we screamed, rather loudly. This occurred in a city, and it was near dusk. We do have neighbours. One would thingk that the screams of two women in a back yard might attract the attention of some neighbours, or anyone passing by. How easily we could have been stabbed or strangled - absolutely noone came to find out what the screams were about.

After she left for the day I took the garbage out to the kerb. This thing remained there throughout the bumpy ride. I photographed it and just then a neighbour did appear, not to save anyone, just to bring out his garbage.

"Look" I said to him.

"A walking stick", he said, calmly and knowingly. "It lives in the trees and eats leaves and insects".

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rosh Hashana

In floods, fires, tremors

The past year shudders and fades

Yet hope still glimmers

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Worm

Plump pink worm squirms out

Gorging on my red apple

Yes its organic

Thursday, August 17, 2017


I am very pleased, thrilled in fact, to be able to report that at last I am feeling better.
Anything would be preferable to how I felt before. But as of this week, on Monday, I can say that I truly do feel better. I resumed work at Yaza (more of that later), I walk around my neighbourhood which is decidedly hilly. In fact, some streets are not just gentle inclines, they are quite steep. I go for long walks on the Bayshore trail and around the Berkeley Marina. I actually eat again, not much, but I do eat. I work in my garden and am knitting and reading. I can converse with people without being interrupted by bouts of coughing. I am exceedingly grateful.

The downside of feeling better is that I can listen to, and read, the news again. Need I say more ...

I look back at the entries I posted last year after the Iowa Caucuses, and pre and post election (this year.) Simply put, all the horror I foresaw is coming to pass. What shocks me is how so many people still seem surprised that there are people who support this man. I wish I could say I was surprised, but after working in Contra Costa County for so many years, this hatred and ignorance is sadly a representation of how many people feel. I would like to say how many people think, but thought does not come into it. Just knee jerk reactions.

In my book Tree Barking I wrote about the anti semitism I encountered. Of course not just anti semitism, racism and bigotry in all its forms. These superstitions and ignorance and deep seated beliefs exist everywhere. So, no, I am not surprised at all. I am deeply saddened.

What does surprise me is that some people still look to the so-called leaders in the hope of hearing some condemnation of the perpetrators of this hatred and violence. Some voice of calm and reason. They cannot look to those in power for any kind of reasonable, moral, articulate statements.

As a citizen of both Israel and the United States, I am further saddened by Netanyahu's lack of response to Trump's historical statements. The corruption and lack of humanity spreads across the globe. I am heartened somewhat by peoples' responses to what is going on. I am heartened that the CEO's resigned, and that citizens are making a stance, but those n power are very greedy and very short sighted, they don't, in fact, give a hoot about anyone except themselves and their pockets.

So ... I am feeling well enough to feel angry, saddened, and outraged. I am not sure whether this is good or bad.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


This is a photo of the bit of cream dropped by my fellow traveler which is what I believe led to the temporary loss of her kindle. Instant divine punishment on the gentler side of most punishments. The horror of it all. This is in a country where I saw steel samurai ear cleaners for sale. I looked for dental floss and went into the pharmacy area of a department store. There is a grave danger of getting the wrong product when you can't read the language. I saw what I presumed was toothpaste, but when I held my google translate app up to it I saw it was a tube of cream for vagina candida!!!! A grave error. I found an assistant and mimicked flossing my teeth. She led me to a section of dental floss, quite self evident, along with other things. One being a cardboard square with a graphic of a pretty woman on it with something in one nostril. On the other side was a graphic of a man with something in one nostril. The cardboad was encased in plastic and underneath the picture was a small green cylindrical thing with a small hook on one side. Intrigued, I asked the helpful assistant what that is. "A nosepicker," she replied, matter of factly.