silver linings of polio and other travel tidbits

While searching for some travel items on Amazon, look what I found! I typed in “travel accessories”, in case you want to try it. I’d be curious to see if you come up with similar items.

Product Details

Simran SM-60 Universal Power Strip 3 Outlets for 110V-250V Worldwide Travel with Surge/Overload Protection by Simran

(Okay, that makes sense, but not for my needs. Let’s continue.)

Rick Steves Travel Gear Clothesline by Rick Steves

(Again, okay. I’m skipping the photos, since you get the picture:). It’s a rope.)

iPad Mini 5-in-1 Accessories Bundle Rotating Case for Business and Travel, Green by Gearonic

Product Details

Classic Accessories Fairway Travel 4-sided Golf Car Enclosure (Fits most two-person golf cars) by Classic Accessories (Jan 12, 2009)

(Hmmm. What else is there?)

CTA Digital PS Vita Travel EVA Protective Case with 4x Game Storage Pockets by CTA Digital (Mar 5, 2012)


humangear Gotoob Travel Bottles 3-Pack Medium 2 Ounce by humangear

(Boooring. Wait–I need that.)

Product Details

Pinterest by Pinterest, Inc (Aug 15, 2012)

  • $0.00
  • Available instantly on your connected Android device
  • Get inspiration from DIY, Travel, Food and other categories.
  • Apps for Android: See all 5 items

I think I’ll stop here. I’m not pinterested. (Sorry.)

I did order a few things for myself in preparation for my travels next week.

I made the reservations back in August, but it’s really hard to wrap my head around it that I’m actually taking off. Now, how to pack for over 2 months with one suitcase and lots of different weather possibilities? Australia was a breeze compared to this.

Israel is a complex country, in case you hadn’t heard. (I’m not going to discuss politics now. Enough people are doing an awful job of it without me joining in.)

Even the weather is complex. It can be gorgeous in the winter; it can also snow. We pray for rain in the winter. I will be there for long enough to have to really mean it. So I have my waterproof boots and shoes (yes, the 7 1/2 in the Land’s End actually is the right size, thankfully). I have layers. Enough to make an archaeological dig.

But I think I’ll skip the golf cart enclosure, although perhaps, if it rains enough, I may regret my decision.

Oh–the title?

Of course, you may have read about a polio outbreak in Syria and in Israel last month. I did, too, but I didn’t actually process that it may refer to me. Even though the Israeli healthcare system (the US should really take better notes) has taken care of it pretty well, it still could be lingering in certain areas. And should I take a risk or not?

I called my doctor and asked should I get a booster shot for polio? Does my blood work show if I am immune? Do you have on record that I had polio as a child? Please make sure to tell the doctor that fact–am I more susceptible because of it, like chickenpox/shingles, or does it create immunity?

Well, in the realm of the added unexpected, the nurse called back to say that the doctor said I was immune because of having it as a child.


Who ever thought that would come in handy some day?


because i’m so color-starved

and not because of tomorrow.

In case you don’t know, I don’t “celebrate” Valentine’s Day. Let me count the ways why not.

  1. Blatant commercialism!!
  2. Wrong religion, simply. I don’t do saints. Of any kind.
  3. I find it horrible to push “love” on people as a day to celebrate. There’s too much pressure on people to do it up and that’s just sad.
  4. And obnoxious.
  5. Did I mention how much I hate the commercialism of the day?

Okay, so really I need an infusion of color because of winter here in our part of the universe. Maybe that’s why the red of the sales, I mean, of the day, is so appealing. I know you’re thinking, “but you just came back from Australian summer!” So? That was already weeks ago!!!!

Yes, my square of my tan on my feet is still there, but it’s not enough.

On my walk today, I was breathing in all the blue sky and that was wonderful. But somehow the coolness of the blue doesn’t do enough. So I’m forced to go back and post my series on red.

I don’t wear red. It doesn’t work with my coloring or temperament. But I was happy to find a lot of people who do or at least did for my sake.

And hopefully yours.

The first two are from LA, from LACMA. The others are from the environs of Melbourne and Victoria. And yes, pink is a tint of red, so we’re including that a bit.


DSC_0609 (2)

DSC_0567 (2) 2013-01-24_18-19-23_247 DSC_0958 DSC_0544 (2) DSC_0527 (2) DSC_0141 (2)

no, really it was duchess drooper!

The pharmacy just sent me a link saying I had $4 in bonus bucks to claim. All I had to do was sign in, with my password.


I don’t have a memory of it; I can’t find it in my saved passwords, so I asked for a hint.

They sent me a new link, asking for the name of my childhood pet.

Whew–I know that one. Duchess Drooper, the basset hound. Isn’t that a great name? We called her Duchess for short.

We had other pets, including dogs and cats, but I would have thought that was the one I would have mentioned.

Apparently not.

[Wait a minute–was her name Duchess? I know my nickname or actually my alias was Dorothy Drooper, Private Eye, Dot for Short. But that’s another story for another time.]


And now, of course, I’m frozen out of the account.


Easy come, easy go and all that.

We called our credit card companies to inform them we’d be travelling this month to destinations heretofore undiscovered. The fellow representing the company where we have mileage said, “Whoa, you got a lot of miles!!!!”

He actually indicated how many, but his tone was pretty much on that level.

Yes, we plan on redeeming them afterwards to pay for this trip.

Car seat arrived, pink Legos arrived, various pajamas and onesies and outfits acquired; I am, thank the Lord, packed.

I’m delaying finishing up some letters and such for work now. I’ll finish them off and then go to sleep.

Thank God we’ll have Shabbat to rest up; the taxi is coming at 4 am on Sunday. Oh that’s just a late Saturday night in my book.

It was 9º this morning here; we’re off to 90° in Australia. I can’t say that I’m not looking forward to that!

But really, I’m really looking forward to tickling our grandchildren in person.

And if we see a few kangaroos and didgeridoos in person, it will be enough.

No, it will be amazing!

And, as the airline lady said as we were confirming all the details of our flight today, “No worries.”

Good enough indeed.

no, really, it’s win-win

I’ve not read many articles about the dire direction our country will turn if this or that one gets elected.

I voted to skip them.

I actually voted a few weeks ago, so this day seems very passe. It made all of the endless phone calls and advertisements/commercials (snail mail, email, internet, magazines, newspapers, and TV) pretty boring at first, but pretty much infuriating by the end.

I read a few articles the past few days or so that actually state the obvious–the USA will not change sooo drastically. Yes, perhaps certain things will get passed or people will get put into positions of power, but really now–will things change that drastically? Thanks to our amazing Founding Fathers, we do have a brilliant system of checks and balances.

Some people may say that’s why we have gridlock; I say that’s why things don’t go too wacky here.

Just look at other countries, for a second, and compare.

And then be very very grateful.

And you see the people who went to vote today without power, but as the “they” said, “they don’t have power, but they have power.”

“Yes, I voted,” Mona Schriver, 68, a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital, told “I voted because it’s the only thing I have left. Everything else is gone.”

Power to the people, indeed.

i was told change is good

So I should be the one to change.

This is the season of thinking about changing, before Rosh Hashanah, through until, well, when is it not appropriate? Leaves changing and all, very thought-provoking. I’m too lazy to go upstairs to search for my John Hollander book, so I found enough of a quote here online from Steve Rubin, Celebrating the Jewish Holidays:

[John] Hollander expresses similar thoughts of remembrance and attachment in his poem “At the New Year.” For him, teshuvah is a continuous, existential process (“every single instance begins another year”), one that is essential to his humanity. And like Stern, Rich, Chess, and the medieval poet Gabirol, Hollander concludes his poem with an expression of gratitude for the gift of life and the ability to begin anew: “. . . as we go / Quietly on with what we shall be doing, and sing / Thanks for being enabled, again, to begin this instant.”

Yes, beautiful. I really should go find it.

I got here with thoughts about today and memories of the past. Today, I’m thinking of people who are so eager to follow trends that they impose permanent inking over their bodies. Ironic, isn’t it? I’ll say it again. They want to be trendy, so they get something permanent. They’ll throw away clothing from last season, but they’ll put tattoos on forever.

I really don’t get it.

Plus I can’t help associate tattoos with Nazi death camps. And for anyone who’s gone through or accompanied anyone who’s gone through radiation, with radiation.

So I have more than a little cognitive dissonance with it.

And I just don’t get it, even without all that. I wrote a little bit about my distaste for branding here already 3 years ago. Wow.

And to contrast with the flightiness of all these trendy people (and isn’t it more than ironic that all the news people note what’s trending these days?), there’s a definite need to change. We must keep moving or we

well, what?

We don’t.

So that reminds me of a story that happened at least 15 years ago or so. There was tension between a number of people in our community and there didn’t seem to be an easy way out. As it happened, there was some simcha ( I think it was a bat mitzvah celebration) and one of the women who was on “the other side” was part of a circle of women dancing. I took her hand to dance and didn’t think twice about it. It wasn’t about me. Or her. It was about celebrating the milestone.

A few days later, I got a call from her. She said how happy she was that I did that and that she would love to talk some time soon. So, swallowing pride, I went over there. She had baked fresh chocolate chip muffins for the occasion. We sat down at her kitchen table and she pulled out a pile of file cards.

With notes on them.

“Change is good.”

“If change is good, don’t you think you should change?”

“What’s holding you up from changing?”

“You should move.”

“Your husband should get a different job.”

Oh she elaborated a little bit after each card, but that was the gist of it.

I stopped eating.

I don’t think I’ve eaten chocolate chip muffins since then.

Bottom line–I think I have changed, but I didn’t change the way she wanted. And as it turned out, it wasn’t her idea, anyway. It was her husband who wrote the cards for her and told her what to do.

She’s no longer married.

Yes, sometimes change is very very good.

a brave new year

This is the description that the Technion people offer:

Geeks are boring? NO way. Nobel Laureates live in ivory towers? University presidents are inaccessible? Perhaps you should ask Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie for some Hip Hop lessons. Join the entire Technion family and the world community of lovers of education, science and technology with some of the hottest robots from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology as they strut their stuff to a hip-hop cover of the traditional Jewish song, Shana Tova, or happy new year for the Jewish New Year 5773. Save it and share it with children and loved ones everywhere as a special new year’s greeting!
Bonne année
З Новим роком
نیا سال مبارک ہو
Yeni iliniz mübarək

Buon anno
Hamingjusamur Nýtt Ár
Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh
Gëzuar Vitin e Ri
Head uut aastat
Bonan Novjaron
Честита Нова Година
З Новым годам
শুভ নববর্ষ
გილოცავთ ახალ წელს
હેપ્પી ન્યુ યર
Feliz ano
Glückliches neues Jahr
Godt Nytår
Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
नया साल मुबारक
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
Chúc mừng năm mới
Yeni Yılınız Kutlu Olsun
హ్యాపీ న్యూ ఇయర్
Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος
מזל ניו יאָר
Laimīgu Jauno gadu
Felix Novus Annus
Naujųjų Metų
Selamat Tahun Baru
Godt Nyttår
Heri ya Mwaka Mpya
Srečno novo leto
Šťastný Nový Rok
Feliz Año Nuevo
Срећна Нова Година
سنة جديدة سعيدة
Manigong Bagong Taon
Onnellista uutta vuotta
سال نو مبارک
Šťastný Nový Rok
Bonne année
새해 복 많이 받으세요
Feliç Any Nou
La mulți ani
С Новым годом
Gott Nytt År

I have no idea what most of these languages even are! But it would be great if we could use technology to help really make sure we all have a good new year. I figure I couldn’t add anything to that!

Except…why isn’t Hebrew one of the languages that they offer? (The one in Hebrew letters is actually Yiddish…)

So…שנה טובה!

p.s. Please share this with your kids!

i’m no fan of football or gangs, but this is ridiculous

Did you see this yet?

IIlegal procedure: Student penalized for wearing No.18 Manning jersey

Not everyone is ready for some football.

Ahead of Sunday’s opening game between Denver and the Pittsburgh Steelers, one Colorado school district has decided to gang up on an 8-year-old student who was prohibited from wearing Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s No. 18 football jersey to class.

The Weld County School Systems is sticking to its guns – or a policy – that prevents No. 18 on clothing worn in school because it is believed to represent gang affiliations.

“They told me I couldn’t wear 18 anymore because it’s a gang number and I had to take it off,” said Konnor Vanatta, during an interview with FOX31 Denver before Sunday’s big regular-season game, the first for Manning since his trade to Denver in the offseason after a hall-of-fame-worthy career with Indianapolis Colts.

A spokesperson for Weld County District 6 explained the policy has been around for more than three years and applies to the numbers 13, 14, 18, 31, 41 and 81.

“Peyton Manning’s been my favorite football player for a long time,” said Vannatta, who wore a No. 61 jersey the following day to protest the policy and was met without restraint.

His mother, Pam Vanatta, also thinks the penalty is uncalled for and should be further reviewed.

“I’m pretty upset the schools have come down to this and I think they need to start paying attention to the education the children are getting rather than then what they’re wearing,” said the student’s mother.

The school is standing by its call.

“We’re Broncos fans ourselves, it has nothing to do with that we’re just wanting to set a consistent solid, example,” said spokesperson Roger Fiedler. “We do try to really discourage and take a stance on any sort of clothing or display of gang-affiliated material or signage.”

Pam Vanatta said the family is all for school safety, but this time the No. 18 should be celebrated, not feared.

Okay, so why is #18 feared? Who knew? Why, Wikipedia, of course!

18th Street gang, also known as M18, Calle 18, Barrio 18, La18 or Mara-18 in Central America,[2][8][9][10] is a multi-ethnic transnational criminal organization that started as a street gang in the Rampart area of Los Angeles, California.[1] They are considered to be the largest transnational criminal street gang in Los Angeles and it is estimated that there are tens of thousands of members in Los Angeles County alone.

18th Street gang members are required to abide by a strict set of rules. Failure to obey the word of a gang leader, or to show proper respect to a fellow gang member, may result in an 18-second beating, or even execution for more serious offenses.[14] According to the FBI, some factions of the 18th Street gang have developed a high level of sophistication and organization. The 18th Street gang is of Chicanoorigin and was formed by Mexican-American youth who were not accepted in the existing American gangs. 18th Street gang members often identify themselves with the number 18 on their clothing and sporting clothing from sports teams such as the Los Angeles DodgersLos Angeles Lakers and Oakland Raiders. 18th Street will use the symbols XV3, XVIII, 666, 99,(9+9=18), and 3-dots in their graffiti and tattoos. 18th Street colors are black, blue. Blue is to represent Sureños (despite being a non-Sureños affiliate), the gangs from the oldest barrios in Southern California, and black is to represent the original color for the gang. The 18th Street gang is occasionally referred to as the “Children’s Army” because of its recruitment of elementary and middle-school aged youth.[15]



Greeley, Colorado?

Oh, mymymymy.

And why do I care, in the first place? There’s all kinds of other garbage going on that I don’t comment on. But the truth is that the number 18 is considered a special one in Judaism, since it is the numerical value of the the word Life–חי, with the ח being the 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the י being the 10th, so 10 +8

And if you have to ask why Life should be a value, well, then, we’ve got much bigger problems.


let’s continue, shall we?

Back in time to the Land of Dinosaurs…

I wondered why I had never heard of this Field Station: Dinosaurs until ISHI found it up in the suggestions from Google for “children’s activities NJ”. It’s because it just opened up this year! Excellent adventure, really probably more fun for us adults than even for the kids, I think. Very very funny. They really build in a great educational program along with fun entertainment. One of the little sessions is to teach you how to respond to dinosaurs, if you come across them in the Outback (so partnering with Outback Steakhouse), with an Aussie dinosaur wrangler, to boot. And they teach how to show a dinosaur the back of your hand first and let them smell it so they know you are safe. So that’s the photo below of a kid smelling her own hand.

It’s also tremendously well-done marketing, where they get all kinds of companies (Coleman, Crayola, Legos [!], the aforementioned Outback Steakhouse:) ) to partner with them for great advertising. Brilliant, really brilliant.

Oh, and the New Jersey State Museum. It’s based on real live science.

Do you see how they build in the Empire State building into their logo? It overlooks it at one point, and so someone was really paying attention. Seriously well-done. The models move and screech by motion sensor and they are real enough to give a lot of kids the spooks. See my first photo for an example.

Actually, what sounds did dinosaurs make and why? I looked it up here🙂

Paleontologists may never know for sure what kinds of sounds dinosaurs made, but most believe that these animals did make noises. Why? Clues in dinosaur skulls tell them so. Some, like “Lambeosaurus,” had crests on top of their heads that probably filled with air when the animal breathed. As air was pushed through these crests, they likely made a deep bellowing sound similar to a horn.

Did dinosaurs communicate? Most paleontologists think so. Like modern-day birds and reptiles, dinosaurs probably made noises to signal that they were looking for a mate, that there was danger, or that they were hurt. Babies may have made sounds to let adults know they needed food or were in trouble.

While paleontologists have not found any evidence to suggest dinosaurs have external ears, the skulls and brain casts of certain dinosaurs indicate they had a good sense of hearing and the ability to hear both high- and low-frequency sounds. All of which mean their world could have been very noisy indeed!

Possible Dinosaur Sounds

  • Bellows
  • Honks
  • Moos
  • Squeaks
  • Roars
  • Snarls
  • Snorts
  • Grunts
  • Hisses
  • Rumbles
  • Hoots

So if you’re in the area, check their calendar, since they’re on a different schedule now that it’s fall-ish.

And now for some photos:

(As always, click on any of them to open them up wide!)

two consecutive conversations with my father

Maybe they were so different because one was on our cellphones.

But that’s just what would be interesting if it were filmed.

The first conversation was a query about a package that came from ISHI to his apartment. The box was from Israel so my father, being the Zionist that he is, was excited but confused. It’s not his birthday or anything, was it? I said he shouldn’t be too excited, but it was actually from both of us, which meant I sent it to him through ISHI’s paypal account. Which means it’s our account, but it’s just under ISHI’s name for convenience’s sake. He said, “Wait, wait, I gotta open it now. Just wait and I’ll tell you if it’s special or not.” And so he opened it and found some body products made in Israel by Ahava. I had bought some recently and figured that he would appreciate them, also, since we share psoriasis, too.

 Clineral by AHAVA & Teva PSO Body Cream

“Wait! Where are the ladies to rub the cream on me?”

“Um, you ‘ll have to find that product yourself, Dad. That wasn’t featured on this website.”

And then he thanked me, since he had actually just finished the product he had brought back with him last year when he spent a few weeks at the Dead Sea, trying to get his psoriasis under control.

So we talked a little bit more and he asked if I had gotten his thank-you note for his father’s day gift (which I had, but do you need to thank someone for thanking you?) and we signed off.

About two minutes later, the home phone rings. I saw that it was my father calling from his home this time. He obviously had been home when we had spoken (or else he carried the package elsewhere?), but he probably thought I wasn’t home at that time of day. This time, he called and was very seriously upset. He had turned on his computer and received an email that was very troubling and he didn’t know what to do about it.

That made me a bit worried; just a bit, because he has received emails from friends who basically are forwarding stuff that is quickly dismissed with one fell snopes.

But this was different. It was from a relative.

“Oh, Dad. I know what you’re going to say. I got the same one.”

“Really? I thought it was just for me.”

“No, it’s not personalized, It’s from Geni for all of our relatives who are signed up for it. So I know what you’re upset about.”

“Really? I guess that should make me feel better, but it doesn’t.”

“Yeah, I felt the same way. ”

So now you might be curious what was in the email that he took so personally. Here is is, of course with names and details changed.

Subject: your cousin and his wife. This past weekend celebrated on Saturday July 28th and July 29th Sunday

July 28th 5 yrs of marriage in (this time in the US, last time in Columbia) their reasserting their love /vows at Camp Hoochikumi on the  shore, where they met originally, on Sunday July 29th Baptism of their son at all Saints Church. Both families attending, a wonderful weekend.


Doesn’t it read just like a telegram?

So why were we so upset? Actually, for different reasons. He thought is was an affront to his Jewishness, that they were flaunting their lack of connection to their religion in his face.

I knew better. I knew that they had no idea that it would upset him, since Judaism plays no part in their lives. So why shouldn’t another religion matter, if it does matter to one of the spouses? Isn’t some religion in the name of family better than none?

I realized that the Judaism they had received as children didn’t make any impact on them as lasting into adulthood.

I was upset because we have failed them.

comments welcome? yes.

Those of us who are wordpressers go around the wordpress world and like and like and like. It’s very easy and very likeable. And I’m happy to see many people who come and visit and take a moment to like what I have written. And in this very very fast-paced world of ours, ADHD-driven (driven by and to), Facebookmarked-world, it is not unreasonable for people to just click and go “LIKE.”


And that’s good. Up to a point.

As I have written before, I have been moved by what I read in comments in stories in general. You learn a lot about people, the world, and you know, stuff, by reading people’s reactions to things. The difference is that on WordPress, as far as I’ve seen, people are really kind. Polite. Expressive. Caring. Thoughtful. Supportive.

This is in distinct contrast to many, if not most, regular web articles. So it’s not surprising to see that there is now a term for these nasties. They’re called trolls. This is from The Week (a few weeks ago, actually)

Trolling gives its anonymous practitioners the catharsis of venting forbidden feelings and ideas without suffering any consequences. On the internet, you can cuss out a stranger with even more vigor and impunity than you can a bad driver from the safety of your own car. “The enjoyment comes from finding a context in which you can let go, take a moral vacation,” says psychologist Tom Postmes of Exeter University in the U.K. “Trolls aspire to violence, to the level of trouble they can cause in an environment.” That prospect is particularly appealing to disaffected men in their late teens and 20s, but they are hardly alone: CNN tracked down a troll putting anti-Islamic screeds online and found that he was a 39-year-old father in Belgium. Rider University psychologist John Suler says an “online disinhibition effect” allows people who might never utter a hateful word in person to unleash withering vitriol on comment boards. Politics, race, gender, and religion all serve as lightning rods for troll rage, provoking such witty banter as “you n—er lover” and “you racist scumbag.” But almost any topic can lead to outpourings of bile. When author Paul Carr recently wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal about quitting drinking without the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, he was greeted by an avalanche of furious commenters calling him a “narcissistic dry drunk” and predicting he would soon relapse and ruin his life.

So why allow them, if they’re noxious and actually cost money to have some sites hire people to moderate the comments?

“Commenting is the secret sauce of social media,” says Stanford social psychologist BJ Fogg. Creating a place for readers to debate issues makes them more likely to return, and that drives up website traffic and advertising revenue. Impassioned debate can be lucrative: The most engaged 1 percent of the audience on any given site can account for as much as 25 percent of its traffic. But editors who allow trolls to take over their comment sections risk undermining their sites in the long run. “Everyone is desperately chasing eyeballs as a way to increase advertising,” said Rem Rieder, editor of American Journalism Review. “But rare is the advertiser who would want to be associated with the ugliness of many comment sections.”

Oh….marketing. Of course…

So for those of you who have written me (who actually know who I am) that you like what I’ve written, thanks for commenting and thanks for the support. I am grateful.

For those of you who have written comments, but asked me not to actually publish them, I listen. And I appreciate your need for silence.

For those of you who forget to make up a nickname to protect my anonymity, can you try again?

So do I dare eat a peach?  invite people to actually comment, here on the page?

Yes. Please.