Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"Naturally luxurious" sheepskins

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You know you're in Australia if the huge Costco store sells sheepskins.
Amazingly smooth wool in various colors.
A rug costs 180 Australian dollars.


Populations: The sheep-to-person ratio in New Zealand is over 7 to 1, and in Australia there are almost 5 sheep to every human.
This ratio is high compared to most countries, but sheep numbers are now on the decline in both NZ and Australia. 

(For ABC Wednesday, H is for a heap of sheepskins.)
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Monday, August 31, 2015

St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney

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 Now during my visit to my family in Australia I finally got into the city, to my favorite place in Sydney -- St. Mary's Cathedral.


Solemn Sung Mass was beautiful with the men's and boys' choir and the organ and all the smells and bells of the Church.


After the service people may gather around and watch the organist play the organ voluntary.
I think yesterday it was Toccata in F by 17th century Dietrich Buxtehude.


There's just something about a Gothic (-style) cathedral!
It's something we lack in Jerusalem. 

More photos of St. Mary's in the coming days (after I have been without Internet for the last five days, oi).
For more about the cathedral (from my previous visits) you can type "St. Mary's" in the little search box on top. 

(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday and Our World Tuesday.)
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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An unusual (to me) tree on the street where my daughter lives, in the northern suburbs of Sydney.


  Melaleuca quinquenervia is commonly known as the broad-leaved paperbark, broad-leaved tea tree or simply paperbark or tea tree in Australia, and as punk tree in the United States.


Besides being the source of tea tree oil, the tree has many uses, especially to aboriginal Australians.  See Uses and Cultivation in Wikipedia.

It is regarded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as an invasive weed in Florida where it was introduced to drain swamps.
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Red flower in the clouds

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It has been raining here north of Sydney for two days.
So today I took an umbrella and went walking in the rain.
This ridiculously tall flowering plant was my most exciting discovery.


Apparently it is called the Gymea Lily, the name derived from a local Eora aboriginal dialect.


Doryanthes excelsa is a flowering plant indigenous to the coastal areas of New South Wales near Sydney, Wikipedia says.
The plant has sword-like leaves more than a meter long.
 It flowers in spring and summer, sending up a flower spike up to 6 m high, which at its apex bears a large cluster of bright red flowers, each 10 cm across.


  (All photos are enlargeable with two separate clicks. )

Doryanthes excelsa:

Doryanthes – a composite of two Greek words, doratos, meaning spear, and anthos meaning flower;
excelsa – derived from the Latin, excelsus, meaning high or lofty.
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(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.  And Gymea Lily is for ABC Wednesday.)
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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Monty the Python's slough

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Only in Australia!  My granddaughter, 5, examining the slough of a python!


My daughter's neighbor from the house next door came over to show my grandkids the shed skin of his pet, Monty the Python.
You can see the place of the snake's eye at the bottom.  Enlarge the photo for an even better look.


The neighbor said his snake sloughs off the outer layer of skin about once a month.
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(Linking to Camera Critters.)
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Above the clouds!

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Some aerial shots taken for this Skywatch Friday as I flew from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong to Sydney on Monday, Tuesday, AND Wednesday!


The little island seemed to attract clouds.


Approaching Hong Kong airport, my first time!



 A big dam.


Mountains around Hong Kong airport.
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It is nice to have a month on the earth now with my grandkids in Australia.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sunrise in Sydney

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Guess what!  I landed in Sydney at sunrise this morning after 35 hours on the way!


Daughter Naomi picked me up at the airport and we drove to their new house over the Sydney Harbor Bridge.


So I hope you don't mind hearing about Australia for the next four weeks.  :)
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For ABC Wednesday F is for finally here!
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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Best friends

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A favorite picture from several years ago.
The two are good friends and are often seen on the Mount of Olives.
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Saturday, August 15, 2015

The falling asleep of Mary

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Everything ready for today's Feast of the Dormition of Mary at the Dormition Abbey on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.
Happy Feast to Catholics and others who celebrate today.
(Orthodox Dormition on the Old Calendar comes on August 28.)
Please see more about the Dormition (aka Assumption) in my earlier post and also here.
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And to us Jews, Shabbat shalom.
Something for everybody today.  :)
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Update:  Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin just wrote a moving Reflection about Mary.
A few paragraphs, called "A Mystifying Beauty," -- worth your while.
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Not much protection

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In the sculpture garden of Rabin (Beilinson) Medical Center, Petah Tikva.
Please enlarge the photo to enjoy the nice details.


Here are some (big) words of interpretation by Tami Katz-Freiman which appear at the late Ofra Zimbalista's website:

. . . a woman in drapings hovers in the air holding an umbrella with holes . . .
Existential anguish, shame, and misery sometimes dress up as pride and bravura (like the woman holding the umbrella with holes in it), and as in Hanoch Levin’s plays they are depicted with humor and a sense of acceptance of fate. The silent figures portray their tragic situation with a sarcastic muteness.
The sense of muteness and almost religious submission are augmented by the deep ultramarine blue and the gold that glints out here and there in various places. The reduction to blue and gold, colors which have a distinctively metaphysical, spiritual (Christian) context, with a cultural meaning that is rich in symbolism (Virgin Mary, the Evil Eye, New Age), abstracts the realism of the figures, unifies them into a kind of fantastic realism, and distances them from prosaic everyday existence, to a poetic-allegoric-symbolic existence.
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Monday, August 10, 2015

No room in the bin

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Neve Shalom neighborhood of Tel Aviv on a Sabbath afternoon, when no one works, certainly not the garbage collectors.
And that's my visiting son shooting an unusual door, or maybe it was a cat.
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(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)
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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Tel Aviv cats and their photographer

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My son is a professional photographer in Los Angeles.
Tel Aviv's MANY cats caught his interest when he came for a short visit to Israel in February.


We walked the little lanes of the older neighborhoods on a quiet Sabbath afternoon.


Schlaf-stunde, Shabbat nap-time for cats too.


Linking to Camera Critters.
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

A mountaintop view

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The view from the top of Mount Tabor.


Happy Feast of the Transfiguration to all who celebrate it today.


My posts explaining the day, the event, and the place are waiting for you here.  Welcome.

A video of local Christians camping on Mt. Tabor and making merry on the eve of the feast day.
A brief video about Mt. Tabor
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(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bus, train, factory, rebar

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It's not a great or thrilling photo, but catching the train made me happy.
Every time I take the bus to Beer Sheva in the morning this train passes under our bridge, and every time I say that next time I will have the camera ready to capture it.
Ta da!
In back is a big metal factory.
In the yard are stacks and stacks of rebar.
You can enlarge the picture to see it better. 
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Linking to ABC Wednesday.  D is for "De train, de train!"  ; )
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Monday, August 3, 2015

Rent a bike in Tel Aviv

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 After years of delays,  construction began yesterday on the huge project of digging a subway and light rail system for Tel Aviv. 
Residents anticipate the worst -- increased congestion on the streets, perpetual gridlock, big delays, loss of business to stores along the route, etc.
There is even fear that rats will come up and out of their underground burrows when the machines start excavating.


These green bicycle rental stations all around Tel Aviv  have been popular for years.
But now, everyone is asked to leave their cars at home and to ride a bike or take the bus in the city.
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In Jerusalem we lived for years with the discomforts of torn up streets and detours and slowness as they slowly built the tram rails.
But we survived.
Here are some of my posts showing the light rail construction in Jerusalem:
 Torn up Jaffa Road
Mayor threatens the new Calatrava tram bridge
Laying the rails
Knee-deep in wet cement
Riding the tram, at last! 
Lots more posts under the label Tram (to your left)! 
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(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)
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Saturday, August 1, 2015

A bike waiting for a bus ride

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Just in time for today's City Daily Photo community's Theme Day on bicycles I happened on this strange scene at Beer Sheva's Central Bus Station.

I've never seen a bike inside the terminal.
The only way to get a bike onto a bus in Israel is to hope that the not-large luggage compartment in the bottom of the bus is not full of backpacks and baby strollers.

The other strange thing was that the apparent bike owner was wearing a fedora, like a Chabad hat, together with an Air Force uniform -- a no-no for the IDF.
It's fine for Orthodox soldiers to be black hatters when they are home on leave, but no soldier may mix private headwear with the public uniform.

Enlarge the photo a few times to see the nice mix of girl and boy soldiers, Bedouins, tourists, and locals. 
That's it from Beer Sheva, folks, now go see what bikes the many City Daily Photo bloggers have found in their cities around the world!
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Friday, July 31, 2015

A warm reflection

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An unusual reflection for Weekend Reflection group.
There was lots of good home-made food last night.
 I was happy to be at the lively and moving bat mitzvah of a wonderful 12-year-old young lady.


Today (beginning last night) is also the fun Jewish holiday Tu B'Av (explained in my earlier posts).
And in just a few hours Sabbath Eve will begin.
Shabbat shalom, may you and also this troubled country have some Sabbath peace.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Carob silliness :)

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ABC Wednesday, and C is for CAROB!

I finally found one single carob tree during my evening desert roamings and it was such a nice surprise!


The tree is also know as St. John's bread.
A translation error had John the Baptist eating locusts, but more likely the word in the Bible meant carobs. I hope so!
I gathered some fallen carobs from the ground, brought them home in my pocket, washed them, and ate the pod.
They taste good, some say like chocolate!


The advantage to walking solo in the desert just outside my town is that you can get silly and take silly selfies.
You can even sing and there is no one there to hear you.

To see how to eat, drink, and understand carobs please see my three earlier posts.
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Trees in the sculpture garden

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I'm still under the good impression of the Beilinson Medical Center, near Tel Aviv, that I visited last week.
Their sculpture garden has some nice art by famous Israelis.


Even the trees are decorated.


Easy to love these hanging pots and special flowers.


This olive tree is dedicated to Leah Rabin, who was a good friend of the hospital (the plaque says).
After Yitzhak Rabin was killed, several hospitals in Petah Tikva together took on the name Rabin Medical Center.
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