Arrived Ben Gurion airport after the inevitable long flight with cramped seating, stiff neck, lack of sleep and over cooked food. Had some lovely seating companions not the last of who were my daughter. Also a young Turkish woman (did i mention the first leg of the flight was to the Istanbul airport) going home after two years in NY. Her excitement to see her family and be back in her motherland was moving. The layover in Turkey was short. It involved schlepping luggage, drinking Turkish coffee and a little bit of waiting.

After deplaning at the Israeli airport near Tel Aviv we got on the foreigners line for presenting our passports. Even in the foreigners line the Israeli method of line forming is already inaction. Shoulder to shoulder, belly to back, jostle for a better position in a formation I would call a mass rather than a line. When it was finally our turn we went up as a group shared our main reason for visiting Israel: to see our son/brother on the occasion of his tekkes or graduation ceremony after many months of training in the Golani 51. We call it playing the IDF card because there is clearly a respect for the fact that one of our family members has made this enormous commitment to their country.

Post the passport business is collecting our luggage and the require hassling over the cab fare to Tel Aviv. While I have been the group leader up to now I relinquish the reins to Bernard who snaps into action demanding to know the fare and if the meter will be running and so one. Later, of course, we will get more refined instruction in this procedure from Ben!

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We go through the hot afternoon in our little taxi, radio blaring including a Israeli-style rendition of shalom alecheim. We arrive at our hostel, the Gordon Inn. I over tip the gruff taxi driver who suddenly gets a bit softer. Later we are instructed not to tip the driver. The Gordon is great for a cheap night’s accommodations. Aside from being on the fourth floor (walk up, not good for Bernard) our tiny room rally does fit us all and there is wonderful terrace just outside our door that looks out across the two blocks leading to the beach and the is the sea sparkling in the sun!

Sasha now steps up to be our leader and takes off leaving us to laying on our bunk beds in a state of mostly exhaustion sprinkled with exhilaration and excitement. She returns in short order with beers (tuborg and carlsberg, the ubiquitous coke, and an assortment of Israeli ice pops). We lounge on the terrace. Eventually the decision is to leave Sam a note as to our where abouts and head out to find some dinner.

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We walk along the promenade that follows the coast lone and the white sandy beach. It is dotted heavily with beach chairs, lounges and umbrellas owned by the various restaurants that supply food and drink. Every son often, in-between, there are also public beaches. We go to Le Mer as recommended by Gidan, the helpful concierge at the Gordon. And not much after being seated on low plastic chairs, driving our feet into the still warm sand, we are joined by Sam. Now we are the group of five that are making this journey to see our Ben! Dinner is good. Lamb kebabs, merguez sausage, hummus, chopped salad, liver, fries, falafel. A feast. Bernard tops it with a Turkish coffee (Israel-style, I think I’ll devote an entire post to coffee in Israel latter).

Some us go back to our room and others continue to lounge on the beach. Eventually we are all snoozing, snoring and even a bit of sleep talking according to Sasha, stacked in our bunk beds in our little room on the fourth floor of a sandy colored building on the corner or Gordon and Ben Yahuda Streets in the teaming and vibrant city, Tel Aviv. What a day.

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Another iPad experiment. I drew this picture (or scribble if your prefer) on my iPad and saved it to photos. Now I’ve posted it here. Hmmm. Kind of cool.

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Testing blogging equipment. This post is from my iPhone.

Testing the “system” so I can post to this blog while traveling. Haven’t blogged in a while and I am amazed to find how many comments were waiting for me — all spam of course. Cleaning them out and hoping they don’t return. “Japanese woman peeing.” Seriously. I need to deal with this?

This morning feels like this sweater.

Available at my Etsy Shop

We had a lovely morning in the village of Rhinebeck including breakfast at Bread Alone where they are serving all kinds of decadent chocolate dishes in honor of Valentine’s Day. I had a nice stroll through all the beautiful things that are filling the shelves and racks at Winter Sun & Summer Moon while Bernard made a visit to the art store. Then we met up at the newest shop in town, Breezy Hill Farm Store, next to CVS. A feast for the eyes as well as the palette. These photos are all about the beauty of the veggies but these was also fruit, baked goods, dairy, and meat — and from what I could see — all organic and local when possible. They are open daily from 9-6. Great new resource for a fine meal! Really nice people, too.

This weekend, Friday evening and Saturday during the day to be exact, Crispina ffrench led a sweater making workshop at EILEEN FISHER‘s featuring her special method of creating new, unique handcrafted sweaters from recycled sweaters. I was lucky to have been part of the weekend, the culmination of networking among a wonderful group of woman that started over a year ago when I participated in one of Crispina’s workshops at Kripalu. The whole story is for another time. The short version is that Cheryl Campbell at the EILEEN FISHER Foundation, invited Crispina to teach her workshop in a beautiful space overlooking the Hudson River at EILEEN FISHER corporate headquarters in Irvington, New York. Twenty woman joined Crispina and her assistants (of which I was honored to be one) and each created their own special, beautiful and individual sweater. It was so much fun to be there, to watch, to help, to meet all these wonderful woman. Many thanks to everyone that made it possible.

Perhaps the event is best told in photos. Click on the first photo to see cycle through them at a larger size.

In November I was lucky to haev the opportunity to take another workshop with Crispina Ffrench at Kripalu. The class included some new faces and some returnees from last year.  We had a great time, learning, laughing and sharing on topics as broad as sewing and life. As always the days went to fast. We could have easily  been there for a full week.  In the photo is the first of two sweaters I made during the program. This one was a gift for my friend Ila who was about to depart on a traveling adventure. It seemed just the right style for her. A little hard to see in the photo, but I was able to take advantage of a organic, wavy front, adding some embroidered bars of cooler to the dark chocolate brown which contrasted beautifully with the green.

Just finished this sweater. I like the contrast of the vibrant purple, green and red with the slightly more muted colors of the patterned sections. It is a comfy and cozy design, too. Off-kilter patch pockets are functional and add a zip of color in an unexpected way.

I’ve long been an admirer of Eileen Fisher and the clothing she designs. For just as long, I’ve been wearing her clothes, searching out the best sales, since well-made clothing are an ivestment. I’ve also enjoyed the fact that many of her pieces are classic parts of her collections and stay relevant from year to year. Sometimes, though, a piece becomes out dated, or worse, the size I thought was perfect because the sale price was so good turns out not to be. But I’ve held on to these pieces of clothing hardly ever parting with them. Now that the option to create new sweaters from old ones has become a part of my life I have bravely taken my shears to a few of my prized EF sweaters and made them into something new, something very much mine but also embracing the original forms that they came from. So here is a new tunic for my wardrobe made from three EF pieces: a black 3/4-length sleeve cardigan, a long gray v-neck cardigan, and a black pullover.  All three are of very similar fabric. I added some fuchsia cashmere cuffs and a decorative insert in the back which you can’t see. For the stitching I choose black and red on the gray and lime green on the black. It falls to the mid-thigh and looks great with a pair of straight leg black pants.

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