November 27, 2008


Micah's home for the weekend, so I have all my "critters" in the house. Even though I don't actually SEE them that much, the house just FEELS more complete. I'm thankful for my family.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Nacho!

Today is Nacho's 6th birthday. This year I made peanut butter cookies suitable for dogs or humans. I have a bone-shaped cookie cutter, but when I looked to find a Pug-shaped cutter, I had no luck. So I got a generic dog-shaped cutter, and developed a system of "alterations" to create Pug cookies. Here's how:

1. Cut off the upright ear, flip it over, and re-attach.
2. Cut off a little dough to shorten the snout.
3. Gently work the tail to make it longer and thinner, so you can curl it.

Voila! It's a Pug!

Happy happy birthday, Nacho!!

Love, Mommy

October 1, 2008

It's Finished!

This is the finished product, "Yizkor Shoah."

The beads at the bottom are actually more purple than the picture shows, but otherwise, you get the idea.


September 26, 2008

A Fight to the Finish!

My struggle with this beading project continues. First, the thread kept breaking and tangling. Then, one of the beads broke, which meant I had to re-do a whole section of the project. It was tempting to give up at that point. But I've come to realize that this is a challenge to my determination. And I am VERY determined: this project will be completed, and it will be exhibited. So I bit the bullet, and re-did that whole section.

Finally the beadwork was completed, and it was time to fit it over the glass candle holder. Guess what? It didn't fit! The beading was so tight (yes, that's what broke the bead), it actually broke the glass!! I'll tell you... the sight of all that broken glass in my hands was very powerful, since this is a Holocaust Yizkor candle!

So, what does one do at that point? How can it work as a Yizkor candle cover if it won't fit over the glass? Well, first I sulked for a few days. Then I sat down with a whole box of yizkor candle glasses, and tried every single one, till I found one that fits! It turns out that different brands are slightly different sizes, and the weird brand from Israel fits just fine. Heh-heh! Point for Esther.

But this thing doesn't give up! Next thing, it turned out that the glass I chose was cracked. Sigh, back to the box. I found another that would work, but the candle is very firmly melted into the glass, and I'm having a surprisingly hard time getting it out. Fear not, though, I will prevail. The candle will come out, the label will come off, and the candle will go back in properly. And this piece WILL be exhibited at our Art Show on October 12th.

It's a Holocaust piece, it's important, and it's been an amazing challenge. But I am determined to have my artistic voice be heard. After the show, I will post a picture of the finished piece. But I hope everyone will come and see it in person.

Celebration of Art
Sunday, October 12, 2008
10 am - 4 pm
6651 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland

September 7, 2008

Go With The Flow??

Okay, I think I figured it out. The metaphor, or whatever. The flow of water is mirroring the flow of.... money! There's that expression "the money flowed like water." Well, the money's been leaking/hemorraging, and this water flooding thing isn't gonna help.

Also we've narrowed down the mystery of where the water's coming from. It has something to do with a broken sprinkler. But I fear that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The question is, WHY does a broken sprinkler outside make it flood inside? And why did it happen 2 years ago, and again now, but never in the time between? Stay tuned as Holmes & Poirot continue their zany madcap investigation!

August 29, 2008

Broken Thread

On a similar note, I'm working on a new piece of beadwork. And the thread keeps breaking, tangling, or getting frayed. I'm not sure if this is because it's a bad spool of thread, or if it's because it's a Holocaust piece which will be a challenge till the very end. Next time I work on it, I think I'll try a different spool of thread, because this is getting ridiculous.

I must say, though, that so far it looks really good. I think it will be incredibly striking when it's done. Stay tuned.

It's Always Something

Just so you don't tempt the Evil Eye, the joy never lasts long. Some new, icky challenge usually emerges to make you forget the revelry. In this case, it's flooding downstairs. Again. Mysterious flooding. Two-professionals-have-come-out-and-neither-can figure-out-where-the-water's-coming-from flooding. No-point-fixing-the-carpet-since-it's-bound-to-happen-again flooding. Heavy sigh.

They say that when bad things keep happening, it often mirrors something going on in your emotional life. Like if you keep having car trouble, or losing your keys, it might point to a problem with the direction of your life. Or if you keep getting sore throats, there's probably a communication problem. Things bursting might mean you're holding something inside that needs to come out. Great, but what does mysterious flooding mean? What does leaking mean? Does it imply... ummm... incontinence? I can't figure this thing out, practically or figuratively. And until someone does figure it out, our home is in limbo. Another heavy sigh...

August 26, 2008

It's The Law

My son informs me that I shouldn't be so excited about my new kitchen counters, stove, and sink. He says that since I'm a middle-aged suburban woman, having my kitchen re-done is pretty much the law.

I beg to differ. Not everyone gets to do this. And I have been wanting this even longer than I've been middle-aged !!! So, regardless of what he says, I have to quote my old friend Judy: "SQUEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAALLLLLLL !!!!" Yes, I'm happy, and not ashamed to say so.

Why am I so happy about it?? Well, just LOOK!!!

Old kitchen with ridiculous mauve .........the ugly, slow, spills-stay-forever.
tiles, insane top-mounted ugly .............stovetop!
sink, AND... ...............................................

..New kitchen with cool granite, no ..............the beautiful, super-fast,
...grout, big, proper under-mounted.........spill-proof, smooth glass stovetop!
sink AND.....

The process isn't entirely over, but we're getting there. And it's such a great feeling every time I walk into the kitchen. I know I'm lucky, and I'm truly grateful.


August 24, 2008

Molly's in the House!!

I grew up with all brothers, then had two sons at once, and now we have a male dog. I've never had any other female in the house, except my Mom. So having a female dog with us for a few weeks is really interesting!

Nacho is a "man's man," and is totally devoted to Daddy. But Molly, our guest, is definitely attached to me. And she has such a different aura than Nacho. I could grow to like this! She's young and energetic, but not so territorial. More curious, and also more excitable. Sound like anyone in your house?

Molly is such a sweet dog. But the poor thing is having a rough summer. First, her family's home burned down, with her inside. Luckily the firefighters were told to look for her, and they found her in time. Then she lived in two new & unfamiliar places. Then they brought her to our home and left her in our care for two weeks. Who knows what she's thinking at this point!?

So, it's no surprise that she's a little jumpy at the sound of every little noise. However, last Monday's thunder storm was no LITTLE noise! Personally, it was the worst I've ever experienced. And Nacho wasn't thrilled either. But poor Molly, she went nuts. She started running around the house at top-speed, barking her head off. I was reminded of the book "Marley and Me." I tried to hold her in my arms, but she didn't know me well enough to take comfort from me. She had only been here 4 days. I felt so bad for her. But then I got her up on the bed, and started rubbing her tummy, and she liked that too much to fight it! So she calmed down, and I think we started bonding. With each new thunderclap, I rubbed her tummy, and after a few, she let me hold her in my arms. Then we just sat through it together, Molly, Nacho and me.

Now we're having a good time. I'm sure she still misses her family, and will be ecstatic when they return, but in the meantime she seems more confident here. Nacho has taught her to use the doggy door, and she loves our big back yard. She gets out there and does the sheepdog-thing, running faster than lightning until she collapses. Nacho has also taught her to keep her nose out of his food bowl. He tries to pretend he doesn't like her, but I think he's getting to like playing with her.

Molly's a funny girl, and she has her own little quirks. I'm having fun experiencing her. I just hope we don't have any more thunder!

July 31, 2008

Sensory Overload

A 3-hour drive in each direction, a 3-hour class with a famous beading "Diva," an 8-hour class with a math-genius beader, a cheap hotel, and a full-sized bead show with over 50 bead vendors... squeeze all of these into one weekend, and you have serious Sensory Overload!

Of course, I enjoyed every minute of it. But when I got home, I was exhausted for at least a week! All-in-all, I'd say that my weekend at the Puget Sound Bead Festival was a total success. I really loved both of the classes I took, and was pleasantly surprised at how BIG the vendor show has become. Waaaaay more vendors than I (or my wallet) expected.

I'm posting pictures of how my class projects are SUPPOSED to look.... because mine aren't exactly finished... and probably won't look as nice as these. But you get the basic idea of the crazy stuff I was working on.

And of course, every time you take a new class, it's so stimulating. You start getting all sorts of new ideas, and that's what I was hoping for. If you haven't taken a class lately, try it! You'll like it!

"Entangled Cubes".................. "The Curl"
by Judy Walker...................... by Jeanette Cook


June 27, 2008

Emotional Roller Coaster

Well, I was relieved that Micah landed safely in Israel. Then came several days of happy phone calls, hearing that he was having a good time.

Then came the call from the Israeli Consulate, informing us that they consider Micah an Israeli citizen ... oops. We didn't dream that Gary's Israeli birth would affect Micah's citizenship! But apparently he was supposed to have an Israeli passport, and needed to get an exemption from military service! Yikes! He's never even been there! So then we were totally stressed, trying to get a straight answer in the middle of the night, about whether he would be able to come home.

Long story short, he arrived back in New York last night - hooray!! And today he landed in SFO, and plans to sleep for a day before sightseeing. I'll be REALLY glad when he gets back here Monday night.

I think a parent's emotional journey never ends.

June 18, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed

Okay, he called the next day, when he got his rental phone in Israel. How exciting! Heh-heh, then he called again to ask how to use the converter thingy. Ahh, all is back to normal , give or take 10,000 miles! I'm looking forward to hearing his take on the whole adventure when he returns.

June 15, 2008

Separation Anxiety

My son is in San Francisco, leaving in a few minutes on a red-eye to New York, where he will catch a flight tomorrow morning to Israel! This is the first time my baby has left North America. And right now is the first time in years that I've been completely out of contact with him. We've been text-messaging today, but now there's no more communication till he gets that rent-a-cell-phone in Israel. I'm very excited for the adventure that he will have, but at this moment I feel very strange and disjointed. I'll feel better when he lands and contacts us. Maybe he'll call from JFK.... nah, not likely. Ah, the emotional journey of parenthood.... Happy Fathers' Day, everyone!

May 23, 2008

A Bright Idea

I've been waiting to update the home page of our ORA website, until we had our new member roster set in May. I thought we would be adding some new members. But actually, it worked out differently. A few people are taking a leave, and we're putting off new memberships until after the October show. So now there are only 9 full-fledged members. But I have all these cool pages I worked so hard on for the departing members, and I hate to waste them. So I came up with the idea of starting an Alumni page! This way, we still have access to those people's pages.

So I re-did the home page to reflect our current members, and I re-did the "Artists" page, adding a link to a new "Alumni" page. I got lots of compliments right away, so I feel good about it. Soon there will also be a new page for this Fall's guest artists.

Meanwhile, I'm taking a Dreamweaver class this summer, so I should soon be able to generate new web pages in that more contemporary format. Once I have that under my belt, I will feel better equipped to take on website design clients. I'm looking forward to that; I think there's a real need out there for artists and small private businesses.

April 17, 2008

New Web Page

I get frustrated when things can't be 'just right' or totally complete. So I wrestled with making a new webpage for our recent ORA exhibits.

There were two separate shows, but they had related themes, so some pieces were in both shows. I didn't want that much repetition, so I decided to just do one big page.

But then, I don't have pictures of all the pieces displayed; not even close! So I had to readjust my expectations, and tried to have each artist represented by at least one piece. It's not perfect, but it will do. And the page came out pretty nicely!

Take a look, and tell me what you think:


March 2, 2008

A Big Step

I finally did it. I summoned the courage to approach a store owner about carrying my work. Not just any store.... Afikomen, the beautiful Jewish gift shop/book store in Berkeley. Gershon and I were going to be in the area for a Bar Mitzvah, so I e-mailed ahead to ask if I could bring some things to show them. And they said yes! So I brought in some work on Friday, and they took a number of kippot and Hamsa pendants on the spot!

I know this seems like such a no-brainer, but for me it's a really big step, and I'm really excited about it. They carry a lot of beautiful Judaica in this shop, and I think they have a good mailing list, so it's an honor to be represented there.

Afikomen Judaica
3042 Claremont Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705

February 27, 2008

I Opened The Windows Today!!

The sun came out today, for real. It's been hinting here and there for a few days, but today it was HERE! If you're in Los Angeles, this means nothing to you. But if you're here in Portland, you're one happy camper!

I actually opened the windows in the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. There's oxygen everywhere! Not sure if I remember how to breathe this stuff, but I'll do my best !

Good job, Big Guy!

February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

I almost forgot about the lunar eclipse last night! But when I was driving to the JCC around 7 pm, I noticed a lot of people standing on various sidewalks and looking up at the sky. When I arrived, I realized what they were all looking at. And the view from the parking lot was perfect! The moon was almost fully eclipsed at that point, and it was mesmerizing. I had that familiar sci-fi-movie feeling again, almost unable to move, filled with wonder.

The situation was virtually opposite of our last eclipse, but the feeling was similar. Last time, about a year ago, the eclipse ocurred in the wee hours of the morning here on the West Coast. I stayed up for it, and stepped quietly through the sliding glass door to the backyard deck. Standing in the silence, I heard throughout the neighborhood the soft sounds of sliding glass doors! It was so sweet. We couldn't talk to each other, but we all knew the others were there with us, fascinated and thrilled at this amazing occurence.

This time, I was in the midst of the hustle and bustle of people coming and going, but once again everyone was connected by this incredible thing, fascinated and thrilled again.

As I've said before: Good job, Big Guy!

February 20, 2008

Milestone Project

I'm starting to cogitate about a potential project. This summer will be the 15th anniversary of my "career" in beadwork, and I'd like to create something special to commemorate it. I have no idea yet about what form it will take, but the traditional gift for a 15th anniversary is Crystal. So I figure I have to do something with crystals, right? Funny thing is, after all the crystal I've used throughout these 15 years, nothing is whispering to me.... yet! But I'm sure that the beads will begin to speak... stay tuned.....

February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today was a funny birthday. Gershon's still out of town, so I was left to my own devices. When I realized that this was the only night this week that I don't have any outside obligations, I decided that staying home would be a good celebration, and Nacho would appreciate it. So I picked up some dinner and a single-serving treat from the bakery, and partied-hearty with Nacho. Heh-heh, we had fun!

Plus, all day I received birthday greetings from all over the world: from Manila to Colombia, to Boston, to Los Angeles, to Oakland to Eugene... the calls & e-mails kept coming. It was heart-warming... nothing could mean more!

So thank you, everyone, from a really OLD person in Lake Oswego.

February 8, 2008

Opening Night

People are wonderful! So many people came out to join our opening night reception last night! It was lovely.

This was the first time we've worked with a theme, which was a challenge. But our members rose to the task beautifully. So many of the works are so impressive, and inspiring.

If you haven't seen the exhibit yet, get over there!! It's there until Feb 24th.

"Exodus: Our Journeys"
An exhibit by ORA: Northwest Jewish Artists

February 7 - 24, 2008

Oregon Jewish Museum
310 NW Davis St.
Portland, Oregon

February 3, 2008

A Wonderful Musical Experience

I haven't written much lately, because I've been so busy with this Sefardic weekend our choir was producing. A lot of pressure, stress, and frustration accompanied our hopes, hard work, and rehearsals. By Thursday evening, when we finally met our guest performer, Cantor Ramon Tasat, I was pretty much a frazzled wreck. I guess the rest of the choir was too, because frankly we didn't sound so good at rehearsal that night. But this guy, Dr. Tasat, was a wonder. Setting aside jet-lag and disappointment, he stepped up and took over guiding the choir, spending 3 exhausting hours lifting our performance in a most gracious way. I was amazed.

The weekend's events included Cantor Tasat leading services on Friday night, with the choir singing, followed by a huge congregational dinner, Sefardic-style, then Cantor Tasat participating in Saturday morning's service, and concluding with the big concert performance on Saturday night, with the choir joining him on a number of songs. Every part was a wonderful success.

It's not just that Cantor Tasat has a lovely voice, or that he plays beautiful Spanish-style guitar. It's not just the selection of songs, or his lovely commentaries about the songs and about Sefardic life and culture. It's about his spirit; it was amazing. His dealings with our choir, our congregation, and our audience were generous, graceful, and inspiring. The concert lifted my soul; the experience of dealing with this human healed some of my wounds.

In our daily lives, we meet so many challenging people. But once in awhile, we meet someone special, who enhances our lives, and it's so gratifying. At those moments, I sometimes look upward and say "good job, Big Guy!"

Wow, That Was Easy!

We put up all of our art at the Oregon Jewish Museum this morning. Why was it easy? Because we had a design angel,
Fred Harwin, helping us arrange the displays. It's always exciting seeing everyone's latest work. But it's usually difficult to
coordinate our display needs, and make it all look good. But Fred stepped in, at our request, and just made magic! We were done in two hours! Eleven people!

So, THANK YOU to Fred. And to everyone else: come see our show!! Details below.

February 2, 2008

Evolution of a Project

I hate deadlines! But they are a part of life. Deadline for new projects to be included in our upcoming ORA exhibit at OJM: February 3rd. I've been working on this Yizkor candle cover during the past 2 weeks.

What an odyssey! Started in Los Angeles at the in-laws' house, with intrigued nieces, nephews, and cousins looking on. Trying to explain what that thin blue strip would eventually become. Continued through days of sitting at my Mom's bedside in the hospital. Spilling beads as I worked on the airplane. Frantically finishing tonight, after our big choir concert. Dunking in water and blow-drying it on the glass, hoping fervently that the thread would shrink to eliminate that little bulge. (It worked - thank you, HaShem!)

This Yizkor candle cover is a memorial to the prophetess Miriam, as part of our Exodus exhibit. Come see all of our offerings:

"Exodus: Our Journeys"
February 7 - 24, 2008

Oregon Jewish Museum
310 NW Davis St.
Portland, Oregon

'First Thursday' opening reception this Thursday, February 7th, 5-8 pm. Free admission.

January 20, 2008

Candle Ceremony??

First, let me make something clear. I can't stand candle-lighting ceremonies. They are phony, awkward, contrived, and I REALLY hate those forced rhymes. Any questions so far?

Now, let me brag a little about my very cool niece,
Hannah Liberman.

Hannah's Bat Mitzvah was yesterday. Of course she did a great job with her Parasha, Haftara, and drash. (Of course she did; she's a Liberman!) But here's what was impressive. As part of her preparation for her Bat Mitzvah, Hannah chose FIVE charities to support. Five!!

What does this have to do with candle-lighting ceremonies? Well, get this....

Each table at her reception was decorated in relation to one of the five charities. And then, when it came time for the... shudder.... candle-lighting ceremony.... oh, this is good. First of all, there was no hokey candelabra; just five cute chunky candles. One for each charity. And instead of calling up relatives from distant places with painful rhymes, Hannah called up EVERYONE from each table assigned to each charity. So, every single person in attendance was invited to come up and drop a symbolic token from their assigned charity into a huge bin. This represented Hannah's donations to the charities, and encouraged each person there to donate as well.

Bravo, Hannah! Overcoming tackiness is good; being a role model is GREAT!!


Aunt Esther