Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Yaakov-and-Leah.com has been updated

It's been completely revamped, but there isn't so much going on there yet... I hope to change that soon.

t.c. Goodman

* this post was sponsored by Two Left Feet LLC, Virginia's best dance school for couples.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

More on the Creative Writing/Literature Conference

So I wanted to report more about the Bar Ilan English Literature Department's Creative Writing conference.

But first, before I get all literary on you guys, I'll tell you what's happening in triLcatLand.

Today was Yaakov's Hebrew birthday (the one he celebrates), so I tried to make a sort of party for him, but nobody managed to make it except Scott the Juggler, who was in Modiin doing a show. I did, however, make Yaakov some kick-tush strawberry ice cream, with lots of real strawberry goodness.

I also made mint chocolate chip, which came out okay, but didn't quite freeze correctly, and... the container fell on the floor and shattered... Who knew plastic could shatter?!

I also watched Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I enjoyed it quite a lot. It's very much a chick-flick, but hey, I'm a chick, ain't I?

Last night, Yaakov and I watched Crash, a movie about crime in Los Angeles. It's one of those sort of artsy suspense films, where you have no clue what anything means until the very end. Apparently, it won some Oscars. I really didn't like it, though I could see redeeming qualities.

Anyway, back to the Literature stuff.

I missed a session or many... The one I went to Wednesday afternoon had a panel of four writers; Allen Hoffman, Shirley Kaufman, Jonathan Wilson, and Rifka Miriam. The panel was headed by Linda Zisquit.

Allen Hoffman teaches at Bar Ilan's Creative Writing Program, and is the author of Kagan's Superfecta: And Other Stories, plus three books from the Small Worlds series; Small Worlds, Big League Dreams, and Two for the Devil. He's working on the fourth book now.

Professor Hoffman (that's how I address him, because he's taught me several classes over the years, both undergraduate and graduate) talked about the trials and tribulations of getting his first book published. It was interesting hearing him talk about how his first story, Kagan's Superfecta, was the wrong length, too long for a magazine, too short for a novel. And that's how it ended up being the primary story in a collection of short stories.

I should really talk about the others, but I'm pretty tired, so I'll cut out for now...

Good night all,

T.C. Goodman

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bar Ilan's Conference.

This week was the Bar Ilan University annual conference of the Creative Writing Program.
As a student in this program, this was my fourth year in a row at the conference.

Being at the conference was really great. The first evening, we heard a reading by David Bezmozgis, the author of Natasha: And Other Stories. The book is a series of short stories about a Russian Jewish family living in Toronto. The stories are told from the point of view of a little boy. He read us the first story, called Tapka. It's a really interesting story about a little boy and a dog, but it's more about the earliest part of assimilation into a new society. I really want to get the book and read the rest of it.

There were a lot of authors there, and I'm really sorry I missed today's sessions. Unfortunately, I had a really bad day. I was really sick. I ran out of milk, and I haven't had the energy to go get more. I think I'm going to go back to lying down. It's amazing how much effort it takes to just be up.

so... more about the conference later.
t.c. Goodman

Monday, May 22, 2006

Yaakov's All Better.

Yaakov's feeling better, which means he's back at work. I miss him. It was nice having him home last week, even if he was asleep most of the time.

I'm trying desperately to accomplish things, and I'm just having a really rough time of it. I finally put up google ads on the blog, which is the first step towards putting up a real site and actually making a living. I really need to figure out what I'm doing...which domain to buy, what concept, and what the business plan is. I have so many ideas, but so little energy.

Today, I was up for about 4 hours before I crashed for 4 hours, and I'm already yawning again, just six hours later. I accomplished so little. I really wanted to at least make a batch of ice cream for my brother-in-law's birthday, which is tomorrow.

Oh, and a shout out to my Aunt Vicki - Happy Birthday!!!!

I did have a minor adventure today, though. I heard this sort of screaming/meowing sound outside. I opened my door to see what was going on, and a cat ran in. Poofy chased it around the apartment, and finally, I separated the two animals to get a look at the cat. I put the cat into a cat carrier (my sister left one in the storeroom downstairs, because it's a spare cat carrier and my whole family shares my storeroom), and tried to get Poofy to be nice. He didn't get the point, so I took the cat, in the carrier, and put it outside while I tried to figure out what to do. It was clearly a house cat, so I didn't want to leave it alone.

I tried to get the dog back into the house and I saw my neighbors peeking in and smiling at the cat. Apparently, my upstairs neighbors have a cat.

Well, Poofy somehow got filthy in this adventure, so he also got a bath tonight.

He smells wonderful, and feels sooo soft.

So I did accomplish SOMETHING today... now I can go to sleep. Good night all.

t.c. Goodman

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Getting Stuff Done.

Wow! We assembled the bookcases last night.

I was going to put up pictures, but I accidentally resized the whole batch all wrong and I don't feel like taking more pictures. I really have to learn to not delete things until I've checked that the resize worked right...oh well.

Anyway. so we have bookcases in our living room. The computer is in the living room, frequently doubling as a television. We rearranged our bedroom so that Yaakov now has a place to put his glasses when he goes to sleep. Really, he has a WHOLE nightstand, all to himself. I got bulbs for the lamps that my youngest brother and his wife got us as an engagement present, and we now each have our own lamp on a nightstand, like real people. It's so neat. We also have shelves in our bedroom, so that stuff should end up on the floor a little bit less.

It's starting to come together. Tomorrow, we juggle. Friday, we clean. And Shabbat, we have a nice house. Maybe this week, I'll actually cook the chicken...

(oh, you want to hear about the raw chicken????)

(do you?)

Okay... last Friday, I was pretty tired and out of it. I put the chicken in the oven, and I turned on the temperature knob, but I forgot the cook setting knob, meaning the chicken didn't get cooked.

It's a good thing Yaakov loves cold cuts, and an even better thing that I try to make sure we have all of his favorite things in the house!

Btw, the chicken was delicious. Saturday night.

Good News...

While I'm still moderating comments to keep people from telling you where to get your %#!$ enlarged or your free Ipod, Ipaq, Iquack, etc, I've changed settings to allow anonymous comments.

So comment away, friends!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ups and downs.

Yaakov is sick, so he's been home, mostly sleeping, occasionally peeking into the kitchen to see what food may have materialized. The latest is vanilla caramel ice cream, although the caramel isn't in it yet.

Last week, I made strawberry, coffee, and vanilla choco-chip. The coffee was for my sister, who had a birthday. I made it with real espresso, and she and her husband (and a kid or two) said it came out good. :)

So little is happening. It's kind of strange. Today, we were supposed to go to an amusement park with Yaakov's company, but obviously, with him sick, it's impossible. It's too bad. I haven't been to an amusement park in years.

We didn't go to any bonfires last night.

and the good news:

Our bookshelves finally arrived! We ordered them right after we got married. We haven't gotten around to assembling them yet, because Yaakov's feeling sick, but they're HERE!

We booked our flights to Ireland. Hey! I'm going to IRELAND! AND - After that, we're going to spend a day in Zurich!

This summer, I'm going to see two new countries!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Twin Demons.

They've caught me, the twin demons; depression and insomnia.

I'd been doing pretty well staying away from both. Maybe today I pushed too hard. I've been exhausted lately, and today I decided I was going to get a bunch of things done, so first I called this shop where we'd ordered shelves, and yelled at them a bit about the fact that we ordered said shelves in MARCH.

Then, I took my sister's 1-yr-old to the park, so that my sister and her husband could do some heavy lifting and such without having to worry about the baby. After that, I went hunting in the storeroom for the missing piece of a table. I found it, in the workshop, pretending to be carpentry wood. Then I started assembling the table, discovered I was a screw short, and went to the hardware store. I got the screw, assembled the table, set it right-side-up, put it in the correct corner of the living room, etc.

Then I moved my computer into the living room, and hooked it up to the ADSL. Up until now, we'd been on cable, and I was a bit scared that the DSL wouldn't work, but it did.

Anyway, I'd been planning to do a few more things, but I was too tired. But I can't sleep.

And now, suddenly, my head is running through old memories. In my mind, I'm slipping on snow in Washington, DC and laughing. In my mind, I'm sitting in some unknown basement with girls from my class and singing and eating raw string beans. Somewhere there's a t.c. lying on the floor in a classmate's house, taking a Shabbat nap next to a whole group of friends. Somehow, in this time warp I'm experiencing my first weeks after aliya. I'm sitting on the steps in Givat Ram, singing to the moon and trying to juggle. I'm sharing a bottle of outcider with a guy from the boy's dorm, because I already feel tipsy just a few sips in, and I can't admit it to my roommate.

And then I'm so lost. the memories just flood and flood. There's no order. They come in chaotically. A day at the beach with my sister when I was ten or eleven, crying at the airport the summer my sister made aliya when I was seven. Playing laser tag in eleventh grade. At a kumsitz in a Holiday Inn in Pennsylvania.

It's amazing, the flood just goes on and on. I feel it like someone shouting into my mind. I can't turn off the memories. They go every which way. Happy, sad, nostalgic, the best and worst. I wonder if this is what they mean when they talk about your life flashing before your eyes.

If so, it's not the feeling you have when you jump out of a plane...

So now, I can sit here, and the demons are in me and with me. There are tears on my face, and I can't sleep. I remember I used to think that this would stop when I wasn't alone anymore, but I guess the truth is that alone comes from inside.

Still here? maybe.
t.c. Goodman

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Little Schizophrenia

It's almost Independence Day. But before we get there, we need to get through Yom Hazikaron, the day when we remember all the soldiers we've lost trying to keep our country.

I didn't realize how they did this so close together until my first year in Israel. Suffering from then undiagnosed pneumonia, I sat on my sister's couch, simply reading names off of the television screen. Channel one carries the names of soldiers killed in Israel's battles. The whole day, you just keep reading names. They keep going and going. If you move to channel two, you can find out who these names were. You can hear the songs they wrote, the poetry. You can meet the girlfriends, brothers, sisters, and parents they left behind. You can hear their last letters home, and you can almost get to know these mostly young boys who died so so early.

If you turn on the radio, you can hear every sad song ever written by an Israeli. You can hear about the children conceived after the Yom Kippur war. They say "you promised a dove with an olive branch." and they remind their parents "We've grown, we're now in the army...now we are men and women, now we dream babies. and that is why we aren't angry and we don't demand... you promised to keep your promises."

You'll hear Ehud Manor's song to his younger brother Yehuda. He remembers Yehuda's shining eyes solving a riddle, and he tells his brother, that his new son is beautiful as him, and he will be called Yehuda. Maybe you'll hear Shlomo Artzi talk about comforting a friend's wife. What I can tell you is that if you listen, you'll hear a plethora of songs of people crying for their friends.

For one day, you will be transported to a country where almost everyone has lost someone close to them in the battle for survival. And just as you sink into despair, you will remember why.

Because all at once, you'll hear the news, you'll hear that the Yom Haatzmaut ceremonies have begun, and then the news will end, and if you're watching television, you'll see Jewish children dancing. If you're listening to the radio, they'll suddenly play something happy, telling you that this is the holiday we've all waited for.

So how do we live with this schizophrenia? We have to. If we don't remember every soldier who died trying to give us safety, then what is this beautiful country worth?

This year, though, we commemorate another tragedy, one in which our own soldiers were used as tools to destroy what our brave citizens have built. This year, I understand why some Jews don't see the State of Israel as a miracle. This year, I see reason to mourn even on Yom Haatzmaut. This year, we commemorate the loss of homes and communities of Israeli Jews. And this year, even with all that's been lost, I still see the beauty of what is. I cry for those who lost their lives defending us. I cry for those who lost their homes from the governments stupidity and evil. Yet, still, in all the sadness, I see the children dancing, and they were born in Eretz Yisrael, and they've grown up in a Jewish country.

And I'm just a tiny bit envious of them.