week in review

Favorite Posts of 2015

Cardinal on a branch in my backyard, December 2015 - featured image for Favorite Posts 2015
Cardinal on a branch in my backyard, December 2015

This past fall I have gotten busy with work and haven’t had a chance to post much. Now that it is quiet, I am taking the opportunity to post a few of my favorite posts from this past year. If you want to learn ways you might do a year end post of your own, check out: How to Create an End of Year Post – 2015 Version

Sandy Hook

I had a lot of fun visiting Sandy Hook with my daughter and her friend. So much history and scenery!

Shakespeare at Rutgers Gardens

I greatly enjoyed watching Shakespeare performed in our local Rutgers Gardens.

Montréal Botanical Garden: Signs, Art, and Waterfall Shots

A highlight from our trip to Montréal, Canada was the beautiful botanical garden.

Cucumber Seedlings Grow (and Portulaca)

In the spring I watch my cucumber seedlings grow and took photos along the way.

The Reluctant Videographer: Miss Hannigan

My daughter played the role of Miss Hannigan in our local show of Annie. I was the reluctant videographer.

Recipes: Favorites from 2015

I’ve been making Squash Carrot Soup again and again. I also re-posted my Cashew Berry Pudding because happily it is a dessert that my daughter loves (and it’s healthy!).

Backyard Highland Park: Spring!

I am posting this one with the photo of a bird in flight.

Watercolor Portrait of a Young Man

Finally, here’s a watercolor of my eldest son:

On Blogging Breaks and Old Writing Desk

writing desk

This writing desk used to belong to my mother z”l. My husband expressed some satisfaction when I he saw me use it one day as an actual desk. I was using it to address a few bat-mitzvah invitations. Which brings me to my next topic: blogging breaks. It seems that Purim stretched into pre-Pesach cleaning which then became Pesach and then a few busy work deadlines. Without strong intention I took a bit of a blogging break. I suppose ideally one should say, hello, I am taking a blogging break, but usually life is too busy for that sort of thing. Until after the bat-mitzvah I should just not plan on blogging very much. When it gets really hot in July, then I can get into the blogging swing again (I hate the heat and prefer air conditioning).

About the desk: my mother used to use it to write letters and organize recipes. I wish I had her collection of recipes – I assume it got thrown out at some point. The desk is quite fragile and is falling apart in pieces. I told the movers (we moved it from my father’s apartment after he died) that this was the last time the desk was moving (they didn’t want me to blame them for the broken pieces, and I don’t). But if my daughter gets attached to it, maybe it will move again. Who knows.

I was planning to write a post called Burning Bread and other Pesach Adventures. I have a great photo to go with that post. I’ll keep it in mind – maybe someday it will show up. My daughter was the Genie in a recent Highland Park Recreation production of Aladdin – if I had the energy, time and ideas, I might have posted about that. She was hilarious. Catch the next show on July 4th in Donaldson Park – no idea what that production will be.

I wish I were back doing watercolors – but too much else to do right now. Maybe in the summer? We’ve been having a gorgeous spring – it is quite therapeutic to go for a walk.

I highly recommend the book Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation by Yossi Klein Halevi. I would write a review, but I returned the book to my brother-in-law. I will just say this: it’s hard enough to write a biography of one person. Yossi Klein Halevi portrays quite a few varied people in this easy-to-read and engaging book.

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

Over to You, Dear Reader

How do you handle needed blogging breaks? Is there anything in particular you might say to your audience? Have you ever gotten attached to an old piece of furniture?

Review with Landscape Watercolor

Layered landscape
Layered landscape scene, watercolor by Leora Wenger 2014

Haven’t had much time to blog – I was working today (on a Sunday!) and helping my daughter with a school project (about Chana Szenesh), and all of a sudden, it was 5 pm. I started preparing dinner, and now that a few things are warming up I decided it would be a nice time to post the above landscape watercolor, one that is an exercise from One Watercolor a Day.

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

Review with Female Cardinal

female cardinal
This female cardinal in my backyard was the first photograph I took in 2014. Note she is duller than her brightly colored male mate – she has one streak of red feathers to display. What was your first 2014 photograph?

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

Review with Flower Pot

flower pot in Ma'alot, Israel
flower pot in Ma’alot, Israel

On My Blog

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

Review with View of Galil

View from top of Mount Meiron Israel
View of Galil farms from top of Mount Meiron Israel, May 2013

I photographed this view while on the Peak Trail on Mount Meiron (or is it Mount Meron). You drive up the mountain, park close to the top then hike around the mountain.

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

Review with Rose Garden

rose garden at liberty hall museum
The rose garden at historic Liberty Hall Museum in Union, New Jersey

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

Review with Street Fair

Highland Park Street Fair 2013 - umbrellas in the rain
Highland Park Street Fair 2013 – umbrellas in the rain

Despite the rain, people wandered down Raritan Avenue last Sunday exploring the booths, talking to vendors and meeting friends. Maybe I’ll use this as inspiration for a watercolor – I love the colorful umbrellas.

On My Blog

boy with fisherman red azalea in bloom Boy and man fishing by the Raritan River, drawing in colored pencils 2013 by Leora Wenger

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

As an experiment, I wrote this post before I left for Israel, left it as a draft in my WordPress backend, and published it via my iPad mini while visiting Israel. Hope to publish some posts with Israel pics soon.

Review with Red Azalea

red azalea in bloom
We are coming up on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (starts next Tuesday night), and it is customary to bring flowers into one’s home. My azaleas are in bloom this week; who knows how they will appear next Tuesday when I am looking for blossoms to choose? My tulips have come and gone already.

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

Review at the Zoo with Giraffes

giraffes at Philadelphia Zoo
Two giraffes at the Philadelphia Zoo

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

  • Michelle is recovering from breast cancer surgery, and she is blogging about … taking care of herself by resting.
  • Lorri has been reading and reviewing books. I hope to read this book called Triumph and Tragedy about life in Poland and its Jewish communities.
  • Stuck on what to blog about? Jeri has an exercise that might help.
  • Just because you read a study in a well-known newspaper does not mean it is a well-done study: Chris Kesser talks about confounding factors in this article on Red Meat and TMAO. “The healthy user bias is one of the main reasons it’s so difficult to infer causality from epidemiological relationships. For example, say a study shows that eating processed meats like bacon and hot dogs increases your risk of heart disease. Let’s also say, as the healthy user bias predicts, that those who eat more bacon and hot dogs also eat a lot more refined flour (hot dog and hamburger buns), sugar and industrial seed oils, and a lot less fresh fruits, vegetables and soluble fiber. They also drink and smoke more, exercise less and generally do not take care of themselves very well. How do we know, then, that it’s the processed meat that is increasing the risk of heart disease rather than these other things—or perhaps some combination of these other things and the processed meat?”