Mixed berry + chocolate chip cookies are in my kitchen right now

This morning I felt a wave of need-to-create energy crash over me and because all the other DIY projects I’m pumped about starting require getting out of my house and buying materials, I decided baking something new would be part of that.

My freezer is currently stocked with kilos of frozen berries so I took that direction and googled and found this.

Inspired, but I altered a bit since it’s mixed berries and I prefer brown chocolate to white chocolate (seriously, who doesn’t?!).

So…

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven. Fluffed the butter + sugar. Added eggs and vanilla. Added flour/baking powder. Added the chocolate chips, mixed, and then added berries.

It was super quick and I actually used a hand mixer – whoa!

Koala update: Four and a half years

At some point in the last six months, I stopped living with a little kid and started sharing a home with a boy. The first suspicion that our household had undergone some sort of transition was after a few sporadic mornings when I had the opportunity to creep into your room as the sun came up and gently wake you, watching your eyes grow from tiny slits to wide blue bulbs, soaking up the light, the time, my face, the day. Something about your fresh face on these mornings made me realize: this outstretched creature is a boy. My second clue was space. Not the talk of astronauts that had taken over (though firemen, Superman and police officers still reign supreme). The need for space, physical and mental, and more of it. That a room is not always enough to contain your energy. Sometimes it takes a speeding bike ride down the block. That we can’t gloss over answers to questions anymore. I stopped answering you with ‘I don’t know’. It won’t do. (So much so, that you think I know everything. You ask me why that is. For now I still have an answer to that.) Then there’s the more challenging stuff. The emotional theme of the last few months has been anger. The reactions to it have been a thing of ongoing process; both for us and for you. We’ve battled in some tough arenas, yelled and cried through some difficult matches, and I’ve absorbed quite a lot of heat from you.

And then in the last few weeks the equivalent of boy butterfly wings emerged. You can do your own personal brand of break dance, reason through a problem, wield a ‘sword’, play house, and look me in the eye and tell me you love me in what all seems like the same breath.

I believe that’s what being a boy is all about. I think this is a great start, Koala.

Fifty-Two Frames: Cityscape

I don’t have a lot of access to cities. Shocking, I know. And even though last week I found myself in four different municipalities, I couldn’t get my act together to get a good cityscape.

So Tzur Hadassah’s other half, Har Kitron, will have to do.

Week 42: Cityscape

A drop of civilization hidden in the hillside…

My kids are awesome sleepers

By awesome, I mean, creative. Not that they always sleep through their nightmares and don’t come in at 2:30 am and tell us about the monsters and lions and bears and I think once there was the ‘blue Spider-man’.

Exhibit A: They very often manage synchronized sleeping.

Exhibit B: In all fairness, the bed might actually be tilted.

Exhibit C: Not much of an internal sleeping compass. Or maybe he is a sleeping compass.

Exhibit D: Bed-sharing means bed-caring… an invitation to sleep even closer. But ‘in my bed there are some rules…’

 

Of life in the shtetl; Tevye had a point

A fiddler on the roof…
it sounds crazy.
But here,
in our little village of Anatevka,
you might say every one of us…
is a fiddler on the roof.

Before I lived here in Israel, I lived in a tight-knit Jewish shtetl called New York.

Trying to scratch out
a pleasant, simple tune
without breaking his neck.

To narrow that down, I was part of a small Jewish community within a small section of a small New York City borough. Maybe this would all be different if I had actually grown up in Brooklyn.

We were a mish mash of lost and found souls – who has never been lost, who doesn’t desire to be found? – and one thing we all had in common was, I suppose, a sense of Jewish tradition. It’s how we got there and it’s why most of us stayed as long as we did.

And how do we keep our balance?
That I can tell you in one word:
Tradition.

A friend randomly sent me the Fiddler on the Roof clip today; I suppose you’ve guessed which one by now. It must be a decade and a half since I last watched the movie or heard the soundtrack, but while I was a kid, my family was kind of obsessed with it. For a family growing into some new traditions of its own, I guess it really spoke to us. Or maybe that’s looking at it too deeply; maybe it was just another exciting part of being a minority finding pop culture that fit so perfectly.

Maybe it was because we also totally had the butcher; the mikvah; the Judaica shop.

But after I watched the Tradition scene today, I felt something I haven’t felt in nearly nine years of living here, in Israel, in a paradise Tevye only dreamed about, if he could dream past becoming a wealthy man.

I felt nostalgia and longing for Diaspora. A sense of loss, a sense of missing out.

The strong sense that living as an outsider is the ultimate way to stay true on your inside.

Halacha and tradition came easier there, in the shtetl, surrounded by the majority. Ok, we’re talking about New York, not pre (or post) World War Russia here, and I haven’t forgotten the end of the play.

But… still. In our kind of modern, safe shtetl, explaining holiday schedules to your boss was a pain; declining edible treats from college classmates was awkward; never quite understanding Christmas while watching TV was odd.

We don’t bother them,
and they don’t bother us.

But it made everything else so much more… inclusive. We belonged, to ourselves.

Yes, of course, there were major downsides to the ‘shtetl mentality’ – why do you think I left?

However, Israel is the biggest shtetl there is, surrounded by the largest majority that could be. Together, all seven-something million of us, we certainly have moments when we laugh, we cry, we bicker, we build, we live.

As intimate as it can get here, it’s not as intimate as the shtetl I knew, the outsider’s shtetl, based on local traditions, based on the narrowed-down group of insiders you cast your lot with.

Traditions, traditions.
Without our traditions,
Our lives would be as shaky as…
as…
as…
as a fiddler on the roof!

Simply put, I kind of miss it.

 

Bebe update: Two and a half years

Bebe,

One day, you might be a mom. Remember when I told your older brother recently after he asked a version of the classic question and I answered – “babies grow inside imas… they start as eggs… that are inside all girls when they’re born” – and then you looked up at me wide-eyed and said “I’m a girl!”

Yes, you are a girl Bebe, and like I said, one day you may be a mom. But for now, hear me out for the sake of ten years from now. Or tomorrow. To put it simply, I’m doing the best I can not to put all my crap on you. Naturally, I am doing just that (omg she chose something pink once; omg is she confident enough, omg her hair doesn’t stay neatly in a pony tail), but I’m trying not to. Not only because it’s parentaly problematic (albeit natural) but also because we’re so different.

You inspire me. Every time you come over to me or your dad or your brother, completely randomly, and throw your arms around our necks, and share your big dimply, chipped-tooth smile. Or when you wake me up in the morning by running your fingers over my cheeks. Or ask me if <insert body part here> hurts. Or offer me one of your treasured plasters.

You were born this way. When you walk into gan in the morning and your girlfriends line up to give and get your hugs, I feel so proud. I feel so lucky to have a child wired for affection and love and care. I wasn’t that child. I’m pretty certain everyone is certain I’m not that adult. So I’m lucky to have you to inspire me.

You’ve been into babies lately. For the last six months or so, you take care of your booba and your mumu; putting them to bed, taking them in strollers. And inquiring about friends’ babies, to their moms, as if you’re considering your own conception options in the near future. I cherish that curiosity. And your role play.

And as you like to affirm, you’re not a baby anymore. We chat in the car at pickup. We play Candy Land; you’re really starting to get it. You love building towers! And when I teach you about support beams you kinda get it!

You’re toilet trained, with quite the underwear collection. Have you figured out how to say it in Hebrew yet? It’s nice though that you taught your Hebrew-speaking teacher the word ‘undies.’ (I just wish you’d tell me you ‘need to pee’ as opposed to always phrasing it as, ‘I did pee.’)

You enjoy adventure, but sometimes need to check it out first.

You’ve got your own sense of style and I’m definitely not taking that away from you. As much as I cringe at your daily preference for chunky rainbow striped Elmo socks with overworn brown Mary Janes. My favorite is this one:

‘What do you want to wear to bed?’

‘Nice dress!’

Keep walking your own way, B. I mean that literally, too. It’s quirky and I’m sure you’ll figure out a more efficient way to run soon. But whatever gets you going works for me, too.

Also, this. This is who you are. Don’t change.