I had coffee only for breakfast.
I had coffee only for breakfast.
Holocaust Remembrance Day is not a day for telling jokes, but since in my family we all have a good sense of humor, I think my relatives who were murdered by the Nazis would smile too if they could hear this story.
It happened on a warm spring morning in the early seventies. My parents, my brother and I left for work and school. Andy, like every day in the last week or so, was still sleeping on the living room couch in our tiny apartment in central Tel Aviv. Andy was a young American visiting Israel for the first time. I don’t know how he ended up sleeping on our couch, but it was typical for my parents to invite someone they never met before to stay with us just because he did not know anyone in town.
Andy was woken up by a loud sound of a siren. His first thought was: I am in Israel, I hear a siren – war!. We lived on the ground floor and it rook Andy just seconds to run out to the street, wearing nothing but his underwear. During the short time it took him to run from bed to the street he thought – I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, I should look and see which direction people are running and follow them. But there was no one to follow. Everyone was standing still, looking down at a spot on the ground between their big toes. Cars were stopped, doors open, drivers and passengers standing on the road looking down. Andy was running along the street looking for someone to follow. But everyone was standing, staring down. After what seemed like forever to Andy, the siren stopped. People started walking. Drivers got back into their cars, closed the doors and drove away. The sound of rush hour in the city replaced the siren. People looked at Andy standing there wearing nothing on but his underwear. The best thing to do was to go back into the apartment.
Only hours later, when my mother returned home from work Andy got an explanation: It was Holocaust Day. In Israel, twice a year, on Holocaust Day and on Memorial Day, a siren sounds everywhere in the country for two minutes. Everyone stop what they are doing and stand still in remembrance of those who are not with us anymore. I don’t know how long Andy stayed in Israel after he left Tel Aviv, and if he stayed long enough to experience this again. But I’m sure that, just like me, every year on Holocaust Day he remembers that time when he stayed with strangers in Tel Aviv.
www.israelfilmcenter.org/STREAM is an initiative of the Israel Film Center at The JCC in Manhattan, a leading resource for Israeli film, expanding Israel’s emerging film industry and promoting Israeli culture in America.
The center serves as an exhibitor, promoter, educator, funder, distributor, producer, network organizer, advisor, and festival producer, as well as includes a viewing library and on-line database of Israeli cinema (www.israelfilmcenter.org).
This summer I will away on a 5 week oceanographic research cruise in the North Atlantic, between the Azores to Iceland. We will study an ecologically important microscopic marine plant, or phytoplankton, Emiliania huxleyi. This species forms large blooms in the world oceans and we are studying what happens at the bloom demise, specifically when Emiliania cells are infected by a virus. No need to worry, this virus only infects this specific phytoplankton, and is harmless to other creatures … We made a connection between cultures in the lab and natural populations a few years ago when I spent a few weeks in a marine lab in Bergen, Norway, studying growth and death of Emiliania in large bags located in the fjord, but this time we are going to where things really happen – the open ocean!
The Knorr, a 300 feet research vessel, will be my home for over a month this summer. The Knorr is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by WHOI for the ocean research community. It is best known as the ship that supported a team of WHOI and French researchers in 1985 as they discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic. There will be about 30 scientists on the ship, from different labs around the US and Israel, and about 20 crew members. Many of the scientists are good friends that I worked with before, some I only know through email, and some I don’t yet know. So I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. We will be working in shifts, sampling twice a day at 6am and 6pm and running lab experiments in between. The ship has several well equipped labs, but no swimming pool, gym, casino, game room or bar… The rooms have no windows. Every two room share a bathroom. So not exactly what you think when you hear the word ‘cruise’L. But I hear the food is pretty good, and I will have three meals a day without having to wash dishes… There will also be a fancy espresso machine on board, and my Israeli friends assured me that they are bringing lots of fresh good Turkish coffee. So I should be OK!
My cell phone will not work while in the middle of the ocean. A satellite phone will be available for $10/minute, so don’t expect phone calls. There is internet connection, but it is slow and limited. So don’t expect long emails, photos or Facebook updates… but if you are interested in how life is on the ship, what and how are we doing, here is how you can follow the cruise – Rose Eveleth , a free-lance journalist and videographer will join us and will document our activities. She will be posting a daily blog through the Scientific American website with pictures and text detailing our research, progress, happenings, etc. Also on the blog is a link to ask questions. So if you have any questions about the cruise, write to Rose. Click here to link to the blog.
When the little green table was placed near the big living room window, kindergartener Sky and her younger brother Happy (not their real names) were able to look outside and watch the birds while eating breakfast. The two kids ate their cream-of-wheat, the big birds (among them blue jays, sparrows, nuthatches and cardinals) enjoyed sunflower and other seeds on the big feeder, and the finches dined on the smaller nyjer seeds from our smaller homemade feeder.
However, you don’t need kids or commercially bought bird feeders to enjoy your own breakfast with the birds. Our finch feeders are made of used plastic bottles they are easy to make and work well in attracting all kinds of birds; not just finches. If you want to make one, or two, or more – here is how.
To make a bird feeder functional you need to think of a few things – the holes have to be the right size for the birds to be able to feed but not too big so the seeds don’t just fall out. You have to provide a place for the birds to perch while they eat, and it has to be easy to add more seeds to the feeder.
Start with a small plastic bottle. I find that ‘Vitamin Water’ bottles work well – they are thicker than water bottles and have a wide opening that makes it easy to refill. You can drill holes or you can use a hot metal skewer to melt holes in the plastic. If you chose to melt the plastic, make sure you work in a well ventilated area or if you use the stove to heat the skewer, turn on the range hood. Make two sets of holes, small holes for the seeds and two sets of two bigger holes, opposite each other – to place long sticks that the birds can perch on while eating. Make two holes in the lid and twist a large paper clip through them to create a loop [see picture]. Your bird feeder is almost ready. Now you have to find two sticks to place through the large holes, fill your feeder with nyjer seeds (available at any pet store or department store that sells bird seeds). Hang you feeder and wait for the birds to find it. To refill with seeds, all you need to do is to twist the bottle to release the cap, add seeds and twist back on. Please look at the pictures that show all the steps – a picture is worth a thousand words!
It’s not going to be long until the finches, and other small birds discover the new food source and come visit your feeder. Have fun, and remember, it is all “For the Birds”!
On Sunday mornings our house is filled with a sweet smell of cinnamon and butter. Sky and Happy (you know, not their real names) are waiting in the kitchen for their favorite breakfast of French toast made with fresh eggs provided by our friends’ backyard chickens and home baked cinnamon bread, made by their mother, me. The bread is usually baked on Saturday, and what’s left of it is turned into breakfast on Sunday. The following description is of a modified recipe given to me by a friend a long time ago. Here it is:
In the mixer’s bowl mix -
2 TBS dried yeast
2 TBS sugar
1/4 cup warm tap water
Let stand for about 10 minutes until the yeast wake up, start working and turn all the ingredients into a bubbly mix.
While the yeast is working for you, mix these ingredients in a measuring cup:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Water to bring the mix up to one cup.
Add this mixture to the yeast, and mix well.
When all the liquids are mixed, add:
When all the liquids are well mixed, it’s time to add the flour. I start with 3 cups (bread flour works best, but a mixture of bread and whole wheat or whole wheat white flour can be used). After the flour is added,I start the mixer and knead for about 10 minutes. If the dough is too wet and sticks to the fingers – I slowly add more flour.
Now it’s time to shape the dough into a ball, roll in vegetable oil until it’s all covered, cover with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place.
Cinnamon & Sugar
Roll the dough
The pan I use is a large bread pan
While the bread is rising it is recommended to go for a walk in the woods….
Today in the woods we found an owl pellet
Hibernating beetles under a bark of a dead tree
And old rusty kids bike.
Pre heat the oven to 400F and place a dish with water at the bottom of the oven – the steam will help create a nice crust.
Place the bread in the oven and lower the temperature to 350F. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from the pan and let the bread cool.
fter about 30 minutes the bread is ready.
If it’s not all gone before the end of the day, I slice and freeze the bread. Next Saturday it will be used to make French Toast.
It’s the day after Christmas: New toys to play with, leftover Chinese food, the beginning of a weeklong vacation for the kids, and a week off work for some lucky adults. This is also the week that Middlesex County’s Plays in the Park (PIP) are moving indoors to the State Theatre in New Brunswick for what is now a holiday tradition – a production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” . “Joseph”, a colorful and fun show, is not only a tradition for the PIP but also for us. J.O.Y (not his real initials) and I meet with the family of his best friend since pre-school for an evening of musical fun. We get tickets together for the grownups and younger kids and two tickets in another part of the theatre for the almost teen-agers J.O.Y and E.T.L. The boys love it – they get to sit together, apart from the parents. They sing along with the actors, they know what to expect, and laugh at the jokes, some that change from year to year. They text us as soon as the lights come on for intermission “meet you at the lobby” as if there could be another meeting place.
The story of Joseph, Jacob’s beloved son, based on the biblical story, is told in singing, with different modern day additions (I don’t recall a flight to Egypt in the original Genesis version), jokes and great dancing. The musical, written by the team on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, was first performed in the US in 1970. PIP at the state theatre has done it now for 17 years! You can tell that the actors/dancers/singers on stage are enjoying themselves as much as the audience. Reading “who’s who in the cast” proves that they like what they are doing, many return to be part of “Joseph”, some are in the show for the twelfth time! So if you are looking for something fun to do with the family, and stay close to home – go see “Joseph”. Tickets are only $7 each. We will be back to see Joseph in his technicolor coat, his brothers, Pharaoh and the others in December 2012.