Monday, December 07, 2009

Needed: Subjects for Usability Test

I'm looking for subjects for a usability test. The test will take place in Tel Aviv on Wednesday or Thursday. (Dec 9-10, 2009)

Subjects should be 20-35 with a good knowledge of Hebrew (Israelis preferred) and need to have a nokia smartphone with internet access and data plan.

Subjects will be compensated for time and travel.

Please contact me at LeahGabrielle at Gmail dot com if you are interested.

Please repost this anywhere and everywhere you think someone relevant might be looking!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

What You Missed!

For those of you who didn't join me today (that would be everyone except Ephraim), here's what you missed...

First, we had to scale a big concrete wall. Well, okay, it wasn't that big. It was about waist height, but you try scaling it with a stroller. This really nice young lady (late teens, I'd guess) helped me, and it was actually really not bad. This is because the mall isn't open at 6:30 in the morning, and I didn't feel like walking 3 blocks out of my way to get to the train station. The road that goes to the train station should be open by the next time I need to go, and if not, well, my appointment then is at 10am, so I'll be leaving a bit later anyway.

Next, there was a guy wearing a kilt on the train. I mean, a real live Scottish kilt. But here's the funny thing. Usually when you see a guy in a kilt, they're like decked out in full gear... not this guy. He was wearing this blah t-shirt and a North Face jacket. It's like someone secretly switched his jeans with a kilt and he didn't notice...

Ephraim and I played peek-a-boo a fair amount of the way to Haifa, and then we found a taxi and got to the clinic right on time. The clinic staff was fantastic as always, and Ephraim is doing great. They didn't get us a new lens today, but they fixed the one he's wearing now to make it more comfortable, and they'll mail us a new one in the next few days.

On the train home, Ephraim really wanted to crawl around, and there's a bit of clear space where I guess wheelchairs could be, so I let him down, and I closed the door so he couldn't leave the compartment, and I went to sit back down.... only I forgot I had been sitting in a jump-seat (like a movie-theater seat), so I ended up on the floor. Ephraim crawled around for a while, stood up next to some older gentleman (by older, I mean older than my father), banged on the seat next to him a little. I asked the man a few times if it was ok, and the man said it was fine. Then someone left the compartment to use the restroom, so I got up to close the door and when I sat back down, I again landed on the floor! It's too bad there was no video camera on me. I think it could've gone viral. :)

Anyway, we're all home and my chair here.........k;lgj/efgjgjdkf/

(just kidding)

be well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maybe I Was Wrong

Back in 1991, my parents took me to my high school's freshman orientation, and my dad ran into an old friend of his. He was friends with her, his parents were friends with her parents, so naturally, he wanted me to be friends with the daughter.

Over the years, he asked me repeatedly "So are you friends with ___?" and each time I'd say "We have nothing in common." or "I have nothing to talk about with her." Over my four years at Frisch, I think I never had a class with her, and I don't think I ever had a conversation with her. I knew who she was and that was pretty much it. Don't get me wrong, I never disliked her, but I never liked her either.

A few years ago, I found out that she lives in Jerusalem and is a writer. A few days ago, I found out she has a daughter named Kinneret. Maybe I was wrong... maybe we do have something in common.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Some People Will Do to Get a YouNeverCall Hat

YouNeverCall is offering a free hat to anyone who reviews them and lets them know where the review is.

Apparently, that seems too complex for some people, so they did a search, found something I'd written about YouNeverCall on my blog and submitted it as a review to the staff over at YNC.

Here's the thing... Sam at YNC is the type to notice such things, because, well, he's my brother. So he ran this one by me, since he didn't know I had an address in Wellsville, PA. (I don't.)

So sorry, Angie, I think it was a great creative effort, but I think you'll have to write your OWN review if you want to get a YouNeverCall hat.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Must Have

I must have this, and it's Bethami's Fault.
There's no place like...painless, there's no place like painless...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's All in Your Head - Twice the Suffering, None of the Relief

Some of you know that I've been sick for the last 2.5 months or so. Some of you might even care.

I have fibromyalgia, so it gets the blame for pain and exhaustion long before a doctor will even order so much as a regular blood count. Finally, though, the levels of pain and exhaustion exceeded what my doctor could write off, so I got a whole bunch of blood tests run, and while some of them are off, there's nothing with a big arrow saying "big disease here" so I'm still without a diagnosis, which means that some people (doctors included) are saying "It's all in your head," so not only do they have no relief to offer me, they can also make me feel guilty for my pain, my exhaustion, and the fact that I'm not up to speed.

Ah the sheer joy of it all.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Chicken Dance Makes Me Cry

No, really. I was at the mall today, and they started playing the chicken dance, and the tears started rolling down my face.

I was thirteen when Steven Orne and I danced to the chicken dance on a Sunday sometime around Yom Haatzmaut 1991. Israel was 43.

I was still thirteen the following January, when Stephen died of complication of hemophilia. I always remember dancing the chicken dance with him, and I always cry when I hear it.

For some reason, "Yesh lanu tayish," which we're dancing in this picture, doesn't make me cry as badly. Yehi Zichro Baruch

Monday, July 27, 2009

He Was Always Ok

Yaakov and I have friends whose names in Hebrew are Yaakov and Leiah, and they're expecting, G-d willing, in a little over a month. I let them know that I had a special kippah appropriate for a brit for a baby whose father's name is Yaakov. (It says "? son of Yaakov") See, it's cute because we don't know the baby's name yet at the brit. All we know is the father's name (one hopes).

Anyway, I made this for Ephraim's brit, and because of everything that surrounded his birth, the running to specialists, the extreme blow dealt to me by unsympathetic and insensitive doctors, the misinformation I found on Google and had confirmed by stupid doctors, and the simple fact that for a time, all I could see of Ephraim was his one small eye, I didn't ever use it.

So I was hoping that someone else could use this kippa, because it took a lot of work to make it. When I offered it to the other Yaakov and Leiah, I told them why it never was used for Ephraim, and the other Yaakov asked "How is Ephraim?"
"Ephraim's ok," I answered. "He was always ok. I was the one who wasn't ok."
and it's true.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Under Ground with Ephraim

Wednesday, a few weeks ago, my mother, Ephraim, and I went to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus. The children's outpatient surgery unit (which they call Day Care) is underground. You go down just a bit, but it's easy to see that there are no windows. After we checked in with Dafna the nurse, we started to meet the other parents.

Ephraim was there to have an abscess removed. Two children were having hernias repaired, another child was there to have a lumbar puncture. Another was there to have a biopsy taken of his muscle. There were religious Jews, non-religious Jews, and Arabs dressed in different levels of religious garb.

And then there was Tito. My mother and I had just seen the art therapist who had explained that we would be spending the day there so that the children having surgery the next day could learn about the process. I was lying on Ephraim's bed - he was lying in his stroller - reading a book.

There were a few young women there, volunteers from Betzalel, Israel's best known college of arts. They were using modeling clay. One made a giraffe, another made a pregnant woman, bent over backwards. Children sat at the table, requesting shapes.

Tito, though, was something different. Tito had a red nose, suspenders marked with inches like a measuring tape, and pants that showed boxers underneath. Tito held three roses. Ephraim was sleeping, but Tito didn't ignore me or my mother. He talked to us.tito the clown at hadassah hospital mount scopus

When Ephraim woke up, Tito amused him by blowing bubbles and by making a balloon jump in Ephraim's tiny hand. I talked to Tito. Some of those near and dear to me are quite clownish, and one of my favorite brothers (I have 3 favorites) has been known to put on a red nose and head for hospitals himself. Yaakov isn't quite a clown, but he does a fair bit of clowning in his show. Moreover, a good friend of his, Charlie is a bona fide clown, and he did some serious(?!) clowning at our wedding.

Thursday morning, we arrived at the hospital at 7:30, got coffee (awful) and pastries (decent) and went to the children's "day care" unit. We were greeted by Dafna, the nurse. Ephraim and some other children had their temperature taken. One of the children dropped his thermometer and there was some discussion of cleaning up the mercury.

Then, two by two, Dafna sent us up to the operating room. We waited in the OR waiting room for a long while, and the doctor came to take a boy to the operating room. His mother went into the room with him to stay with him until the anesthesia took. She came out, shaky. We tried to talk. After a while, her son was taken to the recovery room, and the doctor took Ephraim and me to the operating room. I lay him on the table, and the anesthesiologist put the mask on his face. I sang into Ephraim's ear and held onto him as he wiggled around and then stopped wiggling. They told me to wait outside.

I went to the family waiting room, and tried to read. I pumped some breastmilk for Ephraim, remembering that last time he had surgery, he couldn't nurse for quite some time. I went to get something to drink, and when I came back, my mom was gone. I went to find her in the recovery room, and she was already feeding Ephraim my milk.

She finished feeding him the little bit I'd pumped, and then I held him, nursing him. He was able to suck, unlike the previous time. He was very calm in my arms, very quiet, but he was nursing.

We waited for a long time, and they sent us back down to the basement where the children's outpatient surgery ward is. We talked to other parents there, and we waited for Ephraim to be able to come back home.

ephraim goodman after surgery

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem!

These are the movies (this was before video camcorders...) and the radio broadcasts from 1967 when the city of Jerusalem was reunited!

If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning, let my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my greatest joy.

Today we celebrate the reuniting of Jerusalem. May it never be torn apart again.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

So I'm really trying to work. Two things - well maybe three - seem to make this quite difficult.

1. Ephraim. Since he is really a full-time job, his needs sometimes make it impossible to work. Today, for example, he wanted to eat the entire morning. While I like to accommodate his desires, I only have three breasts (oops. um, one of those looks suspiciously like a bottle with formula.) Moreover, he seems never to get full.

2. The topics. I love my employer. Really, she's endlessly patient with me, always has work for me, and allows me to make money while I'm home with Ephraim. I really don't like writing about gambling. I'd love to write about skydiving, base jumping, nutrition, medicine, dentistry, the mating habits of the fruit fly that carries tomato yellow leaf curl virus*, anything except gambling. Well, okay, maybe not anything, but almost anything.

3. Working in a restaurant causes a number of interesting distractions, like the guy behind me who was explaining to a potential client about the history of the Indian Jews known as Bnei Yisrael. Which of course got me thinking about Dropped from Heaven: Stories and wondering how Sophie is doing with her writing. Which got me googling and blogging. You see? I could work at home, but that would require things like getting my own drinks and ignoring the piles of dishes and laundry... Life is rough.

* If you google my maiden name and the term "tomato yellow leaf curl virus," well, it's not me... but I did spend a day or two in the lab watching the research be done.

The moral of this post - If you have work for me that isn't gambling related, I can give receipts in Israel, so please contact me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Random Tip

To help a toddler drink the broth out of a soup, give them a straw. Kinneret found this a particularly exciting part of eating vegetable soup.

I Work at the Mall

No, I'm not selling super high fashion clothes at the mall. Nor am I pouring coffee at Cup of Joe. Actually, I'm not employed at the mall. I'm just working there.

I am one of those weirdos who takes their laptop and finds a table at a cafe and then gets to work.

This is cool. It works well because Ephraim seems more calm when there are new sights and sounds to look at. So these days, I work at the mall, and Ephraim keeps me company.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The First Three Months

The first three months of Ephraim's life have been, well, less than easy on me.

I've talked about his eye problem a tiny bit. The doctor recommended doing a second operation, but the chances of real success were very low. Yaakov and I agonized over the decision whether or not to go forward with a second operation. I spoke to several doctors, including two other ophthalmologists. In the end, we decided not to have the operation. This means that we have given up all hope of him seeing from the eye.

Instead, we will be working on helping the eye socket to grow so that his face will look symmetrical.

I've spent a lot of time at the eye clinic in Tel Hashomer Hospital, and I imagine I'll be spending some more time there. My maternity leave is almost over, and I'm only just beginning to get into Ephraim's rhythm. He doesn't sleep great at night. It's kind of hit-or-miss whether I get enough sleep to keep me sane any given night. Yaakov's been great, but since I'm nursing, I try to get up for every feeding (Ephraim does take formula at times, since my supply is low).

I'm starting to think about working again. I've found a daycare arrangement for both kids (at the same place) for next school year. I have a few options for part-time care for Ephraim in the shorter range, but I don't want to have him out too many hours a day - just maybe 2-4 hours a day - both because I think babies belong with their mom (as much as possible) and because I have pretty much no success with pumping, so I need to be with him for feedings in order to continue the nursing.

I'm planning on becoming a freelance writer. There is someone who has been giving me writing projects on a regular basis over the past 2 years, and she's had me listed as a regular employee. I plan to keep working with her and take on other projects at the same time - hopefully to improve my resume and widen the range of subjects I write about.

Kinneret is growing day by day. She says more and more words each day. A few days ago, my mom asked her "Is Ephraim your mommy?" and Kinneret answered "baby."

Last night, I was calling for Yaakov from the other room, and she started calling in the same tone "Koko!"

She also is learning to draw. Last night, she found my whiteboard and some dry-erase markers, and she spent about an hour coloring on the whiteboard (and a teeny bit on the couch - but hey, it's IKEA - it's washable!)

She loves flowers and leaves, and asks us to pick them for her when she is out in her stroller.

She has made friends with a little boy in her daycare, and they hug each other. It's very cute.

In international news, Shlomo and Yaakov have been video conferencing twice a week to study Gmara together. Yaakov's mom is arriving tomorrow morning and will be with us for Pesach.

Overall, things are looking up!

Friday, March 27, 2009

3 Years

Yaakov and I have been married for three years.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ephraim Update

Ephraim and I are home now. Ephraim seems to be back to his cute, cuddly, constantly-eating self.

The surgery accomplished what it was supposed to. That is, the surgeon removed the lens, which had a cataract and the scarred portion of the vitreous.

While he was doing the surgery, he saw that the retina is severely underdeveloped. He called in a retinal specialist who agreed with that assessment. As a result, they do not expect Ephraim to have vision in his left eye.

We have a followup appointment on Monday which will probably deal with the cosmetic issues of the problem - the cross-eyedness and the fact that the affected eye is smaller.

I've talked about this about as much as I can take, so please...

I will say that we are coping and we're not worried about Ephraim. We love him very much and are glad that he came through the surgery well. Of course, we're disappointed that vision is unlikely in the eye, but we know that people can live happy, healthy, good lives with vision in only one eye.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Surgery's Over

Hi - this is Rachel (triLcat's sister) on to tell you that the surgery was this morning and Ephraim Yehoshua is doing well. The results of the surgery are still unclear - she'll post about that when she gets a chance.

Thank you for your support!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Request

I've hesitated to write about this. Ephraim was diagnosed with PHPV in his left eye. (Click the link for details - I've explained it too many times, and it kind of makes me sick to talk about it.)

He will be having surgery, G-d willing, on Tuesday Feb 17th. I will be with him at Tel Hashomer hospital in the eye clinic Monday-Wednesday, assuming all goes well.

For those interested in such things, the doctor performing the surgery will be Professor Shpirer.

My request is for your prayers. His name is Ephraim Joshua. For those doing the typical Jewish thing, it's Ephraim Yehoshua ben Leah Gavriela or, in Hebrew, אפרים יהושע בן לאה גבריאלה.

Anyone who wants to offer more tangible support, I will probably be alone in the evenings, and would appreciate visitors (if you're in the neighborhood) and phone calls (if you have time).

Thank you everyone,

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Some of y'all seemed to have thought that the picture in the last post was Ephraim.
It wasn't.
It was Kinneret.
For clarification...
This is Kinneret:
This is Ephraim:

This is Kinneret attempting to hold Ephraim in her lap:

As you can see from her smile, she LOVES being a big sister!

I hope this answers any questions left over from the last post.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Three Weeks

A lot changes in three weeks.

On Monday the 5th, I was having irregular contractions that weren't quite painful enough to be the real thing. For some reason, I decided to go get monitored at the Women's Clinic here, and my blood pressure was too high, so the doctor sent me to the hospital to get some blood work done and check for pre-eclampsia.

My mom and I went to the hospital. They monitored me, took my blood pressure, took bodily fluids of various sorts, etc. Then they decided to strip my membranes and send me home.

For those who don't know these things, stripping membranes is roughly like having one's tonsils removed via the cervix. (sorry to those who will have nightmares for the next month...)

This was around 5pm. We drove back to Modiin, picking up Yaakov on the way. We went to my sister's house, where Kinneret was, spent a little time with her, and went home. Yaakov made me dinner, and then it was time to head back to the hospital. It was a bit after 8 when my mom picked me up.

Labor was super-intense. We got to the hospital around 9, and I asked for an epidural. The baby was born at 9:40, before the anesthesiologist got anywhere near me. So once again, despite my best intentions, I had a natural childbirth.

To those who think that's a wonderful thing, I have one thing to say: OW! Giving birth hurts, dammit!

In other news. we named the baby Ephraim Yehoshua. Ephraim is for the verse "Haben yakir li Ephraim" - the son Ephraim is dear to me. Yehoshua is Joshua - the man who led the Jewish people in the conquest of Canaan. Remember the walls of Jericho? That was Yehoshua! So, here we are, looking for a true leader for the Jewish people... We're working on it right here at chez triLcat.

Kinneret was sick the week Ephraim was born, and to top it off, Poofy got into a fight with another dog on Shabbat. They fought right in the stairs of our building - I couldn't even be angry at the other owners for unleashing him - it's indoors... anyway, he couldn't walk, so I took him to the vet.

That was a really fun experience. We packed the two kids into the double stroller, and then we took a broken stroller that Yaakov is planning to take the wheels from and put Poofy in it. We wheeled our two strollers to the vet's house. Thank G-d (and Moti Dror, on Almogan, phone # available on request), the vet was home. He came out despite being in the middle of his morning coffee on a Saturday morning. He looked Poofy over, listened to my story, and gave Poofy a shot of steriods. He told me to take him home and keep him still and bring him back after Shabbat.

The whole afternoon, I spent worrying about Poofy, especially worried that he wouldn't be able to walk anymore and we couldn't keep him if he couldn't stand up by himself. Needless to say, there was much crying. After Shabbos, the vet told me that he expected Poofy to continue healing and that I should give him steriods for the next three days. He gave Poofy another shot, and gave me the rest in pills so I could give him them at home.

The bottom line is that Poofy can walk and run just fine now, but his jumping seems to have been permanently damaged. He can jump onto furniture, but it seems to be harder for him. The upside is that I doubt that he'll be able to get onto the dining room table anymore. On the other hand, I really miss his excited bouncing, and it's sad to watch him trying to analyze the jump before he gets up on a bed when it used to be completely effortless before. I guess it was inevitable. He's ten years old. He was going to slow down at some point. I just wish it hadn't been such a drastic and dramatic event :(

After this, Kinneret was in daycare for about a week, and then she got sick again. She was home for four days this week. That was challenging, to say the least. The doctor wasn't sure if it was herpes (which she'd been exposed to) or hand, foot, and mouth disease. Since herpes is super-dangerous for a child Ephraim's age, I had to keep her from touching him. That was, needless to say, challenging. Fortunately, it turned out to be hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is a much friendlier virus. It's one of those one-shot deals, as opposed to herpes which hangs around forever.

Today, she's finally back at daycare, and I'm trying to get control of the dish situation. I'm so grateful that we have dishwashers! Today feels so relaxed with just one baby who refuses to be put down. Fortunately, I have one of those wrap-up-baby things that you can use to attach a baby to the mommy. Kinneret used to love it, and Ephraim loves it too. I don't have a picture of Ephraim in it, but I'll give you a picture of Kinneret...

So, now I think I've caught up for the past three weeks. Well, pretty much. I'll post some more when I have the energy.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Yaakov and Kinneret at home.

Publish Post

Poofy is away at his second home.
Kinneret was off on an overnight with here Aunt Rachel and Cousins.
Leah thought it was a good time to be in Shaarei Tzedek overnight.
But do not worry Leah has two roomates and small company near bye in the Nursery a Baby Boy at 3.06 Kgs.

Oh Leah and baby look well . Yaakov is with Kinneret at home, wishing mommy and baby well.

More photos Here on Facebook

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Still at Home

Despite having had some steady contractions last night, I am still home and waiting for things to happen.
I'll keep y'all posted.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Our Last Shabbat with One Baby?

Shabbat was pretty quiet. Yaakov is not feeling very well. He's running a fever. Kinneret has a bit of a cough, but she's acting like her normal cute & rambunctious self. Her newest joy is in taking a plastic spoon or fork and a cup and "feeding" everyone - me, Yaakov, Poofy, her toy bear, her doll Shlomit. It's very cute, and we had many a good feeding over Shabbat.

I had some contractions today, and they're getting stronger now, but they're still not regular or terribly painful, so I guess I have some time left before anything happens.

I'll keep you posted if I go to the hospital, and I've added my sister as an author to this blog.

Shavua Tov,