Tuesday, July 8, 2014

War-time Cooking Tips

War-time Cooking Tips

War-time Cooking Tips

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 09:51 AM PDT

War-time Cooking Tips


Have you ever tried to cook dinner in a war zone?


I have lived on a kibbutz for all of my adult life. Most of the time, especially while my kids were small, we had a wonderful dining room, so cooking never became my forte. The kids have grown, and I am often on my own, so I am still culinarily-challenged. Even more so when I try to cook soup and veggies while under fire.


Here is what it looks like:


Step one: Wash the veggies - hear red alert - run to the safe room.
Wait to hear landing/s.
Return to kitchen.


Step two: Cut veggies (be especially careful with sharp knife, so as not to cut yourself if you are suddenly surprised by loud explosions of return tank fire)


Step three: Fill pot with water and veggies.


Step four: Turn on light. Cook for as long as possible.
Hear red alert.
Turn off light.
Run to safe room.
Wait for landing.


Repeat step four as often as possible until veggies are soft and cooked.


In between sprints, receive announcement from offspring that soup will not help him continue growing..... therefore, despite lateness of hour, boil up pot of water for noodles, roast seeds for salad and defrost, then fry, schnitzel. This is NOT something you should really try at home during war, since it multiplies the number of fires you need to remember to turn off when red-alert sounds again (at least twice).


Do keep in mind that it can take up to four times as long as usual to cook anything under these circumstances. But then again, by the time you finish, your nerves are shot and you don't have much of an appetite, anyway. Luckily, I was just trying to make the simplest of menus. Anything more complicated could have ended badly.


Warning: The situation here in my home on the border of the Gaza Strip is really quite frightening. However, as a person who believes in the power of humor, I just had to see the "funny" side of this, as well. Unfortunately, taking into account the reports on TV and the noises outside my window, tomorrow I will probably be writing another, more serious piece.

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Tour De France comes to London

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 09:06 AM PDT

The Tour De France arrived in London today, these shots taken as the Tour goes through Walthamstow in the northeast of London

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Hailstorm Sofia

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 08:29 AM PDT

In the late afternoon (between 4,30 and 5pm) a hailstorm hit the capital of Bulgaria. Here is how it looked like and what the consequences are:

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The Moon and Saturn Together

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 08:01 AM PDT

July 7th 2014 the planet Saturn made a pass by the moon in the evening sky. This was the 2nd planet this week to do so. Mars did the same thing on July 5th. You can see that image here:

Its been a fun week for the night sky observer. Saturn is always a fun sight as you can make out its rings with nothing more then a pair of binoculars.

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Selfie with pussy riot

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 06:41 AM PDT

The African youth panel met with pussy riot at the sidelines of the roskilde festival in denmark to share experiences around activism and learn from each other. Both were guests of the roskilde festival

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Typhoon Neoguri

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 01:20 AM PDT

I live in Okinawa Japan along the East China Sea. I took this video from my balcony. This is a wicked typhoon!

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Chicago Mayor Responds To Violent Weekend

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 04:59 PM PDT

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel visited 2011 CNN Hero Diane Latiker's community center--Kids Off The Block-- to speak out about the deadly holiday weekend.

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The Saba Saba Political Rally

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 04:26 PM PDT

Kenya's opposition CORD coalition have resolved to convene an all inclusive National Referendum Committee. The aim? To prepare Kenyans for a national referendum on the critical issues facing Kenyans.
They are also demanding the immediate disbandment and the establishment of a new electoral body.
They are calling on President Kenyatta's government to withdraw Kenya's army from neighbouring Somalia.
The opposition coalition led by Raila Odinga say they want the government to take visible and decisive action to deal with insecurity; and this should include holding senior security officials accountable for the deaths of hundreds of Kenyans who have been killed and maimed in various attacks.
The resolution was read out at a rally led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and attended by thousands of his supporters at Uhuru Park

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USS Lexington Firework Show

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 02:23 PM PDT

While vacationing in Texas we decided to watch the firework show off the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi.

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My 6-Month-Old Saved My Life

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 12:02 PM PDT

The taboo of postpartum depression and it's effect on the family:


The morning I went in to have my baby, (I had a scheduled C-section due to fracturing my femoral neck in the Navy) I was calm. Everything was perfect, I was so serene it was almost weird. My C-section was so early in the morning the main part of the hospital was still closed so I had to ring a bell to enter the maternity wing. As I sat out front and waited for the doors to open I kept wondering what she would look like, what she would sound like, what she would smell like. I kept glancing over at my husband and he had the look of "Oh my goodness, this is really happening". Once we had been admitted and I had changed I got hooked up to the machine. Turns out I was already in labor and my contractions were about two minutes apart.


The pain I had been in for the last trimester of my pregnancy was so intense that I hadn't noticed the labor pains. When asked how long I had been feeling the way I did I realized I had been in labor for over two days. I had never been so grateful for scheduled surgery in my life. I could have had her on the side of the highway! I drank the nasty liquid to fight off infection and was escorted into the operating room. As I held onto a lady who was still in training (this was her first C-section) a needle to numb my back and lower extremities was injected into my spine. Instantly I felt the intense pain I'd been feeling for 10+ weeks and almost passed out. I told my anesthesiologist about the pain and she said, "Well, you won't be feeling it in a couple of seconds." Outstanding. As the numbness began to spread I laid down on the table and looked around as the sterilized room. Everything was so harsh, there was no love or emotion in the whole room. My doctor came in and checked me for dilation. I was 10 cm dilated. Not surprising, I was in active labor after all.


My husband came in and sat above my head and held my hand. I don't remember much of what happened next but I remember the moment she was pulled from me. It was the strangest sensation, having your insides on the outside of you and this life being pulled from your womb. The moment I heard her cry I began to. The tears rolled down my cheeks as my husband put his forehead to mine. They took her for testing and the only thing I could manage to say was "Be with her". I just wanted him with her at all times. It didn't matter that I was still cut open and bleeding, I just wanted her to be okay. My husband brought her over to me and I remember asking if she had any hair. He lifted her cap to reveal a head full of black gorgeous hair and I laughed. She looked exactly like him, like I had nothing to do with her at all.


The next few hours are a blur. I don't know what my daughter and husband did while I was being stitched up. I don't remember holding her for the first time, thankfully there is a picture of it. I don't remember recovery at all. I just remember being in my room and my daughter crying and I couldn't do anything to help her. Because of the surgery I couldn't lift her by myself. When my husband wasn't there (we have four dogs at home that needed to be taken care of) I had to call a nurse and sit there helplessly listening to her wail while I waited for someone to come give her to me. It was the most disheartening thing. I didn't get skin to skin when she was first born, I can't hold her like I'd like to, and I was having trouble breast feeding.


After three days in the hospital like this I broke down. I was completely useless. I couldn't feed my daughter the way nature intended, I couldn't hold her, I couldn't console her, I couldn't even take a shower on my own. I began hyperventilating and my husband had to call a nurse in. In between hysterical sobs I told her how much of a failure I felt like. She tried reassuring me but all she was doing was making me even angrier at myself. I finally realized that in order for her to leave I had to calm down. I got my crying under control and told her I felt better. She left but promised that my doctor would come by to check on me in the morning.


When he came in he smiled at me. He told me that he was going to put me on Zoloft for my depression and that I would need to stay an extra day for evaluation. I felt hopeful that the new medicine would help me, and it did in the beginning. It takes 4-6 weeks for a medication to take effect I was told. During the first few weeks at home, everything was great. We had both sides of our family come over and help with the baby and I was complimented on how great I looked. And it was true, my tummy was flat before I left the hospital and I weighed less than what I did when I got pregnant. But something wasn't right in my head. I felt dark, secluded. I focused all of my energy on my new baby girl and convincing my husband that he was being a good father. I was strong because that was the only option I had.


My daughter wasn't gaining weight like she was supposed to. People said it was because she was on mommy milk, even if it was from a bottle, but I knew I was failing. I began rapidly gaining weight. People said it was because I couldn't exercise after surgery but I knew I was failing.


Failures started piling up on me and I started hating myself. I hated how bad of a mother I was, how bad of a wife. I hated that I lived so far away from family, I hated that I had lost touch with all of my friends, and I hated how much weight I was allowing myself to gain. I tried working out but the same pain that I felt while pregnant accompanied every lift and every run. I eventually gave up trying to get my pre-baby body back and I weighed more than the day I had my daughter.


When we eventually moved things turned very dark for me. We moved to a town that doesn't have fond memories for me and is a huge trigger for my depression. I tried telling my husband before we moved about my mental state but I don't think he understood exactly what was happening. I didn't go back to work because I felt guilty leaving our daughter alone; now at almost 10 months old we still haven't had a date since before she was born. I started slipping further and further away from my husband but even worse is that I didn't want to live. I spent half of the day thinking of ways to end my life and the other half convincing myself not to go through with it. Knives were the easy way out. I kept looking at our chef's knife in the kitchen thinking about how easy it would be to get out of my hellish life.


Some days were better than others. Some days I got by on a good cup of coffee and doing nothing but focusing on surviving the day until my husband came home and could help me. But other days were a struggle. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to have to get up and take care of my daughter, why wasn't my husband here to help me? How dare he leave me alone in this tiny house with 5 lives to take care of when I didn't even care about my own life? But my husband didn't know what was happening. He's the type that needs plain words laying out what exactly is going on in any situation. He had no idea that each time I got behind the wheel of my car I drove recklessly hoping that I would be severely injured or better yet, died. I did this only when my daughter wasn't with me, but it got to the point that I found excuses to leave her with the babysitter and venture out.


Each time I wondered why I even needed to be alive I looked at my daughter. I looked at the way she lighted up when I entered a room or how she reached for me when she was falling asleep. She is the only reason that I didn't do anything. I worried about how she would feel growing up without a mom and knowing that I took my own life. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to more than I wanted to be a mom at the time but I just couldn't do that to her. This went on for about a month before I finally cracked. I confessed to my husband just how bad I was getting and asked for help, even if it made me look weak. I found a doctor who understood what I was going through and reminded me that to my daughter, I am everything.


I stopped the Zoloft and was prescribed Latuda for my depression and for being bi-polar. I started Ambien again because I was having constant night terrors and my husband has amazingly taken over daddy duty on nights our daughter doesn't want to sleep. I've learned that I have PTSD from my trauma and that there are too many triggers here for me to function on my own. I now have the support of my husband and my doctors to see that life can be okay. I've also learned that the pain I am experiencing is from Degenerative Disc Disease, it isn't all in my head. Life isn't great now, but the thoughts of killing myself have subsided quite a bit. I find small things to take pleasure in and have learned to speak up when I'm unhappy.


I hate that depression, post-partum in particular, is still such a taboo that those who suffer from it still feel the need to hide. Hiding only makes things worse. I'm here to say it's okay to feel alone, it's okay to feel down. Just know you aren't alone in your loneliness. There are others who feel the same way you do and there are people who can help if you let them. My 6-month-old saved my life, and I hope you allow your baby will save yours.

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The Price of Violence

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 04:43 AM PDT

"See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love;
And I, for winking at your discords too,
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd."
~William Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet Act V, Scene III.


Three Jewish boys kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian extremists.


A Palestinian teen burnt alive by Jewish extremists.


Animals, all of those perpetrators. Blood is blood.
Murder is murder. These animals are destroying lives, families, endangering thousands, pummeling hope to a bloody pulp. Extremists on all sides are calling for revenge and retaliation, despite the fact that the families of all four boys are begging everyone around to stop the violence.


I have been sleeping in my safe room (a specially reinforced room in Israeli houses designed to allow civilians to survive anything but a direct hit by mortars and rockets fired by Palestinians) all the past week. I am "lucky" – I live on my own, have no small children to worry about. It's just me and my dogs – so WE get the saferoom.


This morning, instead of being woken by my alarm clock, I was aroused by a wall-rattling explosion. 7 a.m. The time when people are taking their young ones to the day care centers on our kibbutz. The time when others are getting into their cars to go to work. Usually, we have about 10 seconds' warning before a rocket fired at us from Gaza hits and explodes. Personally, I did not hear the warning this morning, but those who did said that it came less than 5 seconds before the rocket blast.


Once I realized that it was actually inside my kibbutz, and WHERE it was, I called my son, since it was not far from his apartment. After verifying that he was fine I went about my morning chores. In real life I am NOT a reporter – running to the scene of disasters, putting my life in danger. I am actually an English teacher and trainer of other teachers who, despite this being school summer vacation, has a training course to work on and a ton of other tasks that need to be done.


I was so rattled by the events that at last I realized I would not be able to concentrate on any of my work until I wrote an iReport – for although I was not actually an "eye-witness", I was certainly an "ear-witness". So out I went to the scene of the rocket explosion (just a few hundred yards from my house). As it happens, it blew up in my friend's garden. His daughter was sleeping in the room next to where it detonated. The outer wall of the house absorbed the shrapnel and thank God no one in the house was injured. His only serious "casualty" was the new car he had been saving up to buy for so long (and finally did two weeks ago), together with several other cars parked near-by as well as the shrapnel holes in his wall.


Imagine what that shrapnel does to a person's body.


One person was "lightly" wounded, just as they were running for cover in the shelter, a bit of shrapnel caught him in his back. (Albeit defined as "lightly wounded"...but can you imagine how that hurts?!) His friends assured me that he will be fine.


To where will all this lead? When and how will it all end? I am convinced that it will not end until we talk to each other….. and listen well to each other.


To finish off with another quote of wisdom:
"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves us all blind and toothless." (Attributed to Mahatma Ghandi, and Martin Luther King Jr. We could sure use one of them here in the Middle East these days)

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The Hudson River A Photographers Paradise

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 11:47 AM PDT

As a photographer living near the Hudson River I have the opportunity to capture the million different views the Hudson River offers. Whether it is spring, summer, winter or fall there is always some view or activity to photograph down by the river. I have the chance to photograph many replicated historical ships included the HMS Bounty which was lost when it sank during Hurricane Sandy. In the winter you can see bald eagles floating down on ice patches as they fish out of the Hudson. The view from the Hudson all the way down in NYC is spectacular. I feel so fortunate to have so many photographic opportunities because I live near my favorite river The Hudson River.

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The River Kwai

Posted: 06 Jul 2014 06:44 AM PDT

In 2011, I had the opportunity to visit the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. We stayed on a Boat House and it was a very relaxing vacation. I look forward to returning to this Boat House on the river one day and further exploring more of it's history and its beauty.







Photos by Marie Sager 2011

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Your Favorite River :The Potomac River

Posted: 05 Jul 2014 09:13 PM PDT

The Potomac River of the mid Atlantic coast flows into the Chesapeake Bay. She flows through Washington DC,Virginia,Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
We have lived in the Metropolitan DC area for over twenty years. The Potomac River is probably our most visited. The Cherry Blossom Festival being our most favorite time to visit and spend time at the Tidal Basin. Once the festival nears the end a quiet walk on the banks of the river with the remaining blossoms is a peaceful treat.
Viewing the monuments and their reflections on the water gives a great photo opportunity.
National Harbor is another favorite afternoon and evening on the Potomac with the shops, restaurants and just walking on the docks.
We never tire of visiting the five section cast iron sculpture named 'The Awakening' . This work of art was originally at home on Hains Point, near the Jefferson Memorial. He was moved to National Harbor in 2008.
On to even a more gentler side to the river on the Virginia side we enjoy the sunset at Colonial Beach.
The last photo is at Harper's Ferry West Virginia where the Potomac meets the Shenandoah River. Hiking , rock climbing, canoeing, river rafting and white water rafting, or just a slow stroll and a delicious meal through historic Harper's Ferry needs more than one day to enjoy.

Photography Janie Lambert
April 2011
October 2011
May 2012
June 2014

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Moon & Mars Together

Posted: 05 Jul 2014 08:09 PM PDT

The moon and mars made a close pass by each other in the night sky for July 5th 2014. I was able to get both objects in the same field of view with my telescope and camera. Here is my shot. Such a cool sight to see these two objects together in the night sky.

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And to think, some people go for the movies...

Posted: 05 Jul 2014 10:42 AM PDT

Wellfleet Drive In is a staple of many a Cape Cod vacation, living here, we don't get to go usually more than once a season. For me, that visit is more about the spectacular skies than the films usually. The end of June brought shooting stars, amid the gorgeous stars, on a perfect summer evening. Oh and the movies? They were fun too!!
Tags: Drive In movies, Shooting stars

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The River that Caught Fire

Posted: 05 Jul 2014 08:42 AM PDT

I've canoed the Cuyahoga (Crooked River) for many years and have always been able to describe the real Cuyahoga River whenever the time it caught fire comes up. These pictures are from an early morning trip in mid June. The water a a little high and the day was gorgeous.
It's easy to see why it was one of the original rivers chosen to be designated as A National Scenic River. If your ever in the area, don't miss the chance to see a really beautiful river.
Photos courtesy of nEo Adventures.

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