The time the kids met the PR2.

And now for something different…

Meet my brother, a robotics engineer Phd student at the University of Pennsylvania. (Disclaimer: I’m not sure if this can realistically say much about me).

Meet the PR2, Willow Garage‘s research and innovation robot, which my brother works on with a team at the GRASPY lab in Penn, coding for arm movement.

After telling Koala for… literally years… his uncle “makes robots,” we finally got to introduce him to his artificial version of an uncle, PR2:

He’s a bit badass, yes.

Koala got right to work. The arms were the most intriguing…

And after being chased by the PR2 (or rather, uncle at the reigns,) Koala set his sights on a softer model of robot. Needless to say, he’s a big fan all around.

Family portrait, in the laser beam eyes of the PR2:

(That’s me, standing to the left).


I looked up when, among the mumbling, I heard the word ‘מעליב.’

Standing in a long, slow-moving line at a Staten Island department store, I suddenly felt at home. And yet, it wasn’t because I was in Staten Island, or a department store.

She turned around to complain about the long line in English, and then we chatted about the headphones she was holding. Helping her out with the specs, I was filled with a sense of wanting to hug this woman. Who, once upon a time on listening to her loud, unashamed Hebrew complaints, I would have smirked and thought, Oh, Israelis. But like seeing Sabra humus in a Costco, I had discovered a piece of home right there under the fluorescent lights of American shopping culture.

I had to say something once she mentioned she wanted to use them for a plane she’d be getting on shortly.

“So, you live here, or in Israel?”

We ended up switching to Hebrew and talking about our lives in short… She had moved to New York, and ended up in Chicago. I had left New York for Israel. She spoke Hebrew with her kids at home, and actually, her daughter has excellent Hebrew, “better than Israelis back b’aretz.” My kids speak English, and of course, expand their Hebrew vocabularies at their daycares. Her kids attend Jewish day schools – “absolutely, in America, you MUST give your children that.”

We parted ways to pay for our things and wished each other luck. In a way, I felt like this was my parallel universe, maybe ten years from now. With switched accents.

We make choices… we put faith in them… and some of us are fortunate enough to know deep down we’re living the right choice.






Bebe update: Sixteen months.

Last week, Bebe insisted on ‘walking’ up the two flights of stairs to our apartment, holding the railing and alternating between her feet and knees to pick herself up to the next step.

As we got to the top, she indicated I should give her the house key (which I did) and then with a boost from mama, helped put the key in and unlock the front door.

Walking up the stairs by herself – check. Unlocking the door – check. I think she’s got the skills she needs to get home after a night out in college.

The ‘terrible two’ is also starting to peek out from behind the independence Bebe has been showing. Bring it, Bebe.

On the flip side, she’s got hints of a girlie side going on. I think that’s just me assigning societal standards on a 16-month-old. I found her in my flip flops pushing her toy stroller, and then holding her stuffed cow saying “boobah boobah,” and later clambering for my hair clip and putting it in her own hair.

Then again, Koala did the same exact stuff.