Fifty-Two Frames: Books

Recently, our town added a completely cute new feature to our bus stops: book shelves!


I started to read random books to my kids while killing time after gan. What a lovely example.

Week 21: Books

“A new book smells great. An old book smells even better. An old book smells like ancient Egypt.” – Ray Bradbury 

Nettles update: Two months

Good morning Nettles! I can see your big blue eyes so much better now that you’re staring at us all the time. We’ve gone from coaxing smiles out of you to being proactively greeted with them when we come to snuggle.

And, much to your disapproval, we are working on that goddamn tummy time. We have Tipat Chalav in three days and lots of catching up to do… Over the last month I’ve calmed down from the initial shock of having another girl to guide through this life. You could say, I’m breathing through it. Who am I not to take on the incredible role of girlhood sherpa? I made it through relatively ok, right?

And if the way you punch at those hanging stars is any indication, you’ll be just fine too.

Also, here’s a milestone even your older brother and sister haven’t made yet – you aced your first job interview! And when I say job interview, I mean you came with me to one of mine, and when I say aced, I mean you didn’t cry or fuss the whole time! So good for you. Maybe you’re ready to go out there and contribute to this family, huh sister?!

I do have a pang of naturally-allotted mother guilt that you are already with us two months and I feel you haven’t gotten your fair share of attention. I know, I know. It’s just the way it is. Bla bla. That’s what other parents will tell me. But it’s not enough.

I guess when we gave the gift of another sibling to your brother and sister, we were also giving you something incredible, too – coming into a booming, blossoming, active, hilarious household. An experience your older siblings either didn’t know, or only had in muted tones.

So let’s look on the bright side, Nettles. The party started and you arrived at a high. We brought you into a house that already laughs and lives and loves. You’ve brought us another reason to laugh and live and love.

Fifty-Two Frames: Forced Perspective

Learned something new this week – did not know there was a whole photographic genre called ‘forced perspective.’ Also had thought this type of stuff was cheesy, so I’m glad i got to go for emo here.

And the reason I had actually been sighing at our future was this article.

Week 20: Forced Perspective

Been thinking a lot about our future lately, coming to terms with the fact that we are killing ourselves. 

5 ways #KahenaCon got me pumped to go back to work

I signed up for KahenaCon soon after registration opened. Maybe even the day it opened. I really enjoy this conference for getting inspired in the kind of work I do, by hearing from others doing it and by the atmosphere we create when we get together. It’s a gathering of marketing professionals within the kind of environment that suits us – plenty of networking time, solid speakers, awesome lunch.

But this year I had an alternative motive – not only get inspired by the work I do, but get inspired to start looking for new work in my field. Looking for your next professional opportunity can be rough when you’ve just released a new add-on (parents, amirite?).

Newborn at home means new job hasn’t sounded as attractive as it should. It’s making me do a lot of thinking. Luckily, a marketing conference had its say today.

Here are 5 ways KahenaCon inspired me in the search for my next digital content marketing opportunity:

1. Ladies, ladies ladies. 

The conference kicked off this morning with two fabulous females: Joanna Lord, CMO at BigDoor and Kate Morris, digital marketing consultant at Distilled. There is just something so welcoming about this when you’re a lady at a conference.

To anyone rolling their eyes (ugh, why do ladies always mention ladies?)… too often in the startup/marketing/hi tech world, we don’t see enough women up there. And for KahenaCon to fly out and kick off with two of the best presenters out of the whole day, who happen to be girls? Makes me feel good about our profession, too.

2. We’re alone but we’re not alone…

A few minor points Joanna made in her keynote session, ‘The Loyalist Advantage’ might be the thoughts that resonated best with me today. They both validated my self-worth as a marketer and offered a healthy dose of nostalgia for when I worked for a larger company:

  • Sometimes it’s lonely when you’re a marketer in a bigger company. But at least we’re all in it together: Can I have budget? *No.* I made something out of nothing! Can I have budget? *No.* I could do this better, can I have a developer? *A developer for marketing?! No.*  
  • We jump in head first while the execs hang back. Someone has to for a company to survive… so there we are. First responders.
  • We’re chameleons – usually the only ones at a company who are evolving… and we also take it upon ourselves to evolve our colleagues and company, too.

3. Second life for the ‘struggling’ writers.

There’s a GIRLS story line this past season where Hannah ‘sells out’ working for an advertising agency and laments her disloyalty to her creative writer self. I totally got that but it’s also incredibly naive; if she moved over to digital marketing, she might see how much room we have to create.

And really, where else would we all be if it wasn’t for this professional space? We, the recovering English majors… the dime-a-dozen MBAs… the disillusioned former journalists (FYI, I qualify as only two of those things).

We got a second chance to be creative and make our own path in an ever-evolving profession. I think we done good and I’m ready to get back to the conference table.

4. My local marketing buddies.

This might be unique to Israel. We’re blessed with an intimate hi tech and startup community, which has created an even more intimate digital marketing community. I genuinely enjoy being a contributing member to this group and seeing my colleagues a few times a year so we can discuss tactics, method, and our dangerous habit of operating Twitter while high on coffee.

5. Pumping breastmilk in a conference room.

True story. A breastfeeding-friendly conference organizer is a sign of a mother-friendly professional culture which points to a wider family-friendly society. And I’m so, er, pumped to be a part of it and know that for the most part, I will be welcome as a working mom as much as the (likely) working parent who takes me on their team.

So… when I get those batteries charged for the daily pumping… time to get back to work!

10 things about turning ten (celebrating a decade of lizrael update)

Where’s my cake? lizrael update turns ten-years-old today!

That’s six months longer than I’ve lived here. That’s two more years than I’ve been married. That’s five more years than I’ve been a parent. That’s as long as I’ve been out of my first university.

It’s the longest-running project I’ve ever undertaken, with no deadline or end in sight. I’m proud because as a kid and past my teens, my creative pitfall was (and still is) not finishing what I started. I’m probably a bit insane because… really? Who’s blogged for ten years? Who is still blogging in 2014??

Finally, not finishing what I start is worth something.

Here’s to you, once-newfangled writing format I was skeptical of back in 2004 and needed good friends to convince me to try! Thanks for all the good times, the learning times, the up-till-4am-fixing-this-goddam-thing times!

Here are ten things I have to say in honor of my blog turning ten:

  1. In the beginning, I was tracking my move across the world. What I quickly realized was, it was also a way to exercise my writing chops without feeling like homework.
  2. My advice to others: If journaling feels good to you, and you stick it out for those tough first 3 months, I mean three years, I mean forever – it just becomes part of who you are and how you communicate and relate to the world.
  3. ^That said – blogging has majorly evolved in the last decade; that’s probably an understatement. So now you might consider photoblogging, microblogging, Twitter, public Facebook profile, or 39573485 other ways to build your space online in the way you like.
  4. I’m in a relationship with this thing. Sometimes I want to hug it. Sometimes I’m disgusted and want to look away. Sometimes I want to twirl in a field of lilies with it.
  5. Reading old blog posts is like looking in a really distorted mirror.
  6. So much has changed! I started with a private site on LiveJournal, converted over to Blogger, then, and finally WordPress. I did open a Tumblr account ages ago, but didn’t it feel it would work for me.
  7. In a way, getting into blogging turned me on to my career. Among other things (hi, thefacebook), it was part of a greater culture I joined when I graduated from university with my first degree (in nothing practical).
  8. Thanks to all the people I’ve met over the last decade! Seriously – I’ve met tons of readers, fellow bloggers, fellow expats, aliyah-curious – some of whom I’ve spoken to from across the world and met for coffee, some of whom I’ve corresponded with for months till meeting them in person, some of whom have become friends. Like, real-life friends (hi SG!).
  9. I’ll admit: there’s a lot I don’t say. There’s been an internal conflict about being private vs public. Gave up privacy years and years ago. You a pay a price.
  10. I’m glad to be creating some quirky/fun/sentimental footprints for my kids to discover one day.

Blogging may be in or may be out. We can call this something else from now on… content creation, sure. Living online. Personal branding. (It used to be an ‘online journal.’)

Whatever it is…

Whether it’s out there for the world or in a word doc…

Whether it’s for kids or friends or no one…

Whether it’s proofread and polished or riddled with typos…

I do highly recommend carving out a space, sharpening your style, building a bit of yourself in some corner of the written world.

Aright, back to blogging.

Roar: The art of the dinosaur birthday party

IMG_20140425_153409As we know, Koala plans his birthday months and months in advance. About eleven, I’d estimate. In fact, a couple weeks ago, he asked me if he’s five and a half yet.

He had been requesting a Spiderman birthday for ages. If he had stuck to it, I would have – sigh – done it. With my own twist focused on actual spiders, of course.

But a couple weeks before I sat him down and said, “ok. tachlis (bottom line), what do you want for your party?”

And he answered… dinosaurs.

Jackpot! You must know by now how I feel about the topic. So here’s my review of the dinosaur birthday party we threw our five-year-old about three weeks ago.

It was pretty simple; I recommend it. I already had a bunch of material to use, and the rest I needed was super cheap or free. So here were the party’s ingredients:

  • Decorations, which I (oddly) happened to have
  • An arts and crafts project they could use within the party
  • An arts and crafts project they could take home
  • A reason to get dirty and enjoy
  • Extras (dinosaur printouts for coloring)
  • Games
  • Cake (obviously)
  • (was planning a DIY volcano experiment demonstration, but thought we wouldn’t have enough time; looking back, we totally should have done it)

We decided to take deep breaths and throw the party at home in our apartment, as opposed to last year’s, outdoors. It was a learning experience. The decor: Mostly hanging pterodactyls, strung from the ceiling fans. A set of items I inherited by way of a retired school teacher across the ocean. Crafts project #1: Dino feet. After lunch, the kids designed their own set of dino feet, cut out from construction paper. The idea was they could then wear them for the ‘dino races’ later on (which were essentially variations of the egg-and-spoon race, which these sabra kids thought hilarious). Crafts project #2: Fossils. First, I attempted this for fossil-making Too flimsy for what I wanted to do. So I used DAS clay instead (25 nis, made about 17 or so ‘fossils’). I used plastic dinosaurs (look familiar?) to make the imprint. The kids painted their fossils out on the porch after the… Fossil dig! The ‘get your hands dirty’ part of the party. We filled a giant plastic tub with 60 liters of fresh clean dirt. The kids chose three cards from an envelope; the items listed on each – dinosaur, dinosaur ‘egg’, dinosaur head, dinosaur ‘fossil’ imprint – they had to ‘excavate’ from the tub: And of course… the most fun to prep, the most fun to eat – the cake: My newly five-year-old boy had a roarin’ time. And the aftermath in my dishrack – well the after-aftermath, once the house was put back together – made me smile.