Monday, December 22, 2008

after the biopsy

inner peace and joy
my goal so elusive
a moment captured here or there
through nature or music

chanting in the shower or car
I feel calm and grateful
for this life
for this moment
for not having cancer

birds and chipmunks chattering
almost spring
hiking in Hooksett we find
the trail still frozen in places
muddy in others
ice starting to melt in the marshes
water running in small falls
a beautiful sound
energetic but calming
at the same time

I take digital photos and put one
on my computer as background
the frozen pond with multi-colored ice
brown wispy grass
beautiful granite boulders
and tall pine trees
God as artist in all seasons
another small moment of joy
revealed on a computer screen

copyright 2004 Linda H. Feinberg

The winter photo above was taken at Dube's Pond, Hooksett, New Hampshire. I recently sold about 20 cards with this scene.

While this poem was written four years ago, last week I had a breast biopsy again. This lump turned out to be fibro adenoma (a benign tumor). That's why I thought about this old poem.

We had a wonderful weekend retreat on Cape Code with a havurah. Lots of singing, workshops, prayers, ruach (Hebrew word for spirit. The English does not express it as well.) The snow was too deep to walk on the beach, but we walked down and enjoyed watching the seagulls and the water.

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas to all our readers. May you be blessed with a happy, healthy and joyous new year. Light a candle, say a prayer, and dispel the darkness...

Chapter Thirty-Three Fourth Week in August

Kamil Hussein and Hamid Akham are sitting in the conference room of the Iranian Secret Police building, tired and haggard from the long journey home. They both want to just drop off to sleep.

The phone in the room rings, jolting them out of their growing stupor. Hamid answers, "Jibril Atwan has asked me to inform you that he is on his way to the office. You are to continue to wait in the conference room," says a male voice. "He said you are to make yourselves comfortable."

Kamil asks himself, "How can anyone be comfortable sitting in any room in this building?"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chapter Thirty-Two Reporting to Jibril

Jibril suddenly looks up and interrupts their confused thoughts, as if there had been no break in the conversation. "Overall, you did well on your first assignment," he tells them. "I have one of our people checking into how much usable nuclear material we can expect to find in one of their projectiles."

"If our people think it is possible to use that material, do you think he is capable of dismantling the projectiles as we asked?" asks Hamid.

"From what I am told, he will do anything for the right price," Jibril says sarcastically.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice Storm December 2008

Power is back on at our house. Unfortunately, many others are still waiting. The inside temp dropped to 52 degrees on Friday without heat and power. The downtown had power, so we ate out! Lots of restaurants open. Luckily, neither of us is seriously bothered by the cold, so we had our long johns on, double sweaters and were fine. Glad to get the electricity and heat back though. I don't know how people managed to read by candlelight. Maybe that Abe Lincoln/log cabin story is a myth.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chapter Thirty-One NSA's Surprise

"John for some reason you look very perky this morning. What have you got up your sleeve?"

"Well sir, my regular report is the same old, same old, that you gave Allison. However, our people have been monitoring the suspected Israeli covert team and they have spent three to four days at the Bampur site. They are now moving, reversing their movements towards their original deployment position."

"Sounds like they want to get out of Dodge,"says the president. "I wonder what the hell they found out. When you see they are evacuated I want to be notified. Then Allison and I are going to have a little talk with their prime minister and the Mossad."

"Sir, you will know as soon as they are removed from shore," remarks John Walker.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chapter Thirty Real Issue

Kamil decides to open the conversation. "Dimitri, have you found the special rods our client is looking for?"

"Yes and no."

"What do you mean by yes and no?"

"We have found a supply of spent rods that are still located in a reactor that is not functioning. To get them out would take many skilled people and would certainly draw a lot of attention.

"We have located some projectiles that are, shall we say, unaccounted for; they should be able to serve whatever purpose you need the rods for."

Hamid goes on to say, "We are not looking to ship projectiles. We are interested in purchasing those gear box housings to move nuclear materials you said you found. The projectiles are useless to our client."

Dimitri then says, "You will have to reprocess the rods; the materials inside of the projectiles should be usable without remanufacturing them."

Kamil replies, "We will advise our client of your dilemma. We will also tell them of your suggestion. I would suggest that you find a way of removing the materials in question if we are to reach an agreement."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I realized that I haven't posted any artwork for a while. I thought this was appropriate for Thanksgiving. The Hebrew is from Psalm 104:24 - English translation approximately: "the earth is full of your creations".

I spent last weekend studying and passing my recertification tests for QuickBooks 2009. I'm glad that is over with and I won't have to do that for another year. Today we have Thanksgiving dinner with family & friends. This weekend I'm looking forward to playing with my art materials.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Nine Entering Site One

"Let's take a break here, Mark and recon the area to see where the most advantageous spot is for us to set up. We need to keep within ranges to obtain emissions of any type and be able to record conversations."

"Natan, I'd like to suggest that when we leave here we take a dip in that body of water where we filled our water containers."

"Agreed, it will be a long time before we get to take a shower."

Viewing through their night vision equipment they pick a spot that will enable them to be within the ranges they need. They find a natural rise in the desert that offers them some height in order for them to observe what they believe is the front entrance of the facility.

Half way up the rise they dig out an area for them to maneuver around in. During daylight they will record whatever readings they can obtain and attempt to record voice conversations. During nighttime hours they will attempt to get closer to the facility to obtain more information hopefully without being detected.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Eight War Power Authority

"Tell everyone this is an update from our previous meeting. Tell the military commanders that we will be discussing broadening the war powers authority of the president. Something I promised them when we last met.

"Have Marine guards stationed at the Situation Room door for the duration of the meeting."

"Is there anything else sir?"

"No, not right now. When is my next appointment?"

"In half an hour you have the ambassador from Israel coming at your request!"

"Have the kitchen make up some strong coffee for us for when he arrives, please."

"I'll have it done."

Janet leaves the Oval Office and actually drops down into her desk chair harder than she realizes. The emotional moments she just went through with the president are making her feel drained, scared and honored all at the same time.

Five minutes later she phones everyone of the meeting and what the president advised her he wants them to be aware of.

He's really funny at times. He like to keep people guessing and on their toes so that he can get original ideas and not made up remarks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Seven Second Visit to Russia

"I'll have the pricing for you tomorrow. If we come to terms you will have to pay in US dollars. What is your other request?"

Hesitating, Kamil goes on, "Well the customer who needs this equipment is now requesting that we look for some spent fuel rods."

"Where would I get spent fuel rods?" asks Demitri.

"We don't know, we are only asking if you can. If not we have to continue shopping for that part of the package the customer wants," spoke Hamid.

"You know if I could possibly do that the price would be very expensive."

"You give us a price if you can deliver, and we will check with our firm to have the quality of a sample tested, then we will make you an offer. Let's say you should wait on quoting these materials to see if we can make a package price," responds Kamil.

"Ivan, put this stuff back together, Vicktor take our guests back to the Best Eastern."

After Kamil and Hamid leave with Vicktor. "Igor, I want a tail on those two for the next two weeks."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November again

the trail is blanketed with leaves
as I follow the dog around the pond
dull yellows and browns
no longer the brilliant reds
like the burning bush by our house

the acorns have finally finished dropping
on the wooden deck
startling me with their loud noise

the mums are withering
the garden bare
a few herbs hanging on
to grow again in spring

the first snow was early this year
and melted quickly
the nights are frosty
and we cuddle under a warm quilt

in the evening I take out
yarn and knitting needles
another pair of mittens
for a daughter far away
reminding me of mother
and her granny squares
my weekly phone calls
now with my children
as hers used to be with me

seasons change
each with its own beauty
the earth rests, then renews
November again

copyright 2002 Linda H. Feinberg

Sunday, November 2, 2008

weekend in Brownsville

in the Brooklyn apartment the long narrow hallway
with its single bare bulb appeared dark and scary
each time I walked down it
on Sunday my uncle stood facing east
in the sun-filled kitchen doorway
wrapped in tefillin, tallis and ever-present yarmulke
prayerbook in hand, swaying as he davened his morning prayers
closing his eyes, his connection to God
a complete mystery to me

copyright 2002 Linda H. Feinberg

I wrote this poem in a workshop class several years ago. My uncle passed away recently at the age of 98. I was glad that I had a chance to visit with him this past summer. He was the last of that generation. As a child I did not understand the ritual of the morning prayers. As an adult I think it is a beautiful one even though I am not observant. For me the connection to the divine is usually through nature, art, music, poetry and sometimes through people.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Six NSA's Discovery

National Security Director John Walker arrives at the White House for his morning report to the president.

In the Oval Office , President Egan is listening to Allison McDonald, CIA Director as she gives her latest report. John Walker is escorted into the Oval Office by the secret service and takes a chair alongside of Allison.

"Sorry, I'm a couple of minutes late, we were stuck in traffic."

"Allison continue," says the president.

After her report, John Walker hands the president the original of his report and Allison a copy.

John begins, "Sir, most of that report is similar to what we discussed yesterday. However one of our satellite observers has been watching two human forms for four days, they travel only at nighttime."

John knows enough not to paint the whole picture at once.

"So what is so special about that?" asks the president.

"If we weren't looking for something covert possibly from Israel, I would say nothing. Yet here we have a team of two moving only under the cover of darkness.

"They have arrived at a location called Bampur and seem to have taken up temporary residence."

"Bampur, what the hell is there that the Israeli's know about and we don't."

"Allison, does the CIA have any idea?"

"No sir!"

"John what does the NSA know about Bampur?"

"Sir, I have to plead the same way Allison is, we don't have a clue what is going on there."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Photos

On the trail in Auburn. I have no idea what these are, but I thought they were pretty.

The burning bush by our house. This was tiny when we planted it over 20 years ago.

Mums that have come back for 3-4 years now. They are in a sunny spot. Apparently our cold winter does not kill them.

Friday, October 24, 2008

piano dreams

dancing notes
quarter notes
half notes
jumbled up
sheet music unreadable
piano keys flying
left and right
black and white

childhood piano lessons
busts of dead composers
were my prizes
jealous of my sons
gifted musicians
write their own compositions
recall the notes easily

sitting at the piano
my fingers no longer
reach the octaves
play smaller chords
hear the music in my mind
when looking at the notes

the divine symphony plays
through the mountains
birdsong and wind

in my dreams
my notes are a part of it too

copyright 2008 Linda H. Feinberg

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Five US Sub Fleet Reports

Three o'clock in the afternoon Admiral Smith along with CIA Director Allison McDonald and NSA Director John Walker are sitting in front of the president's desk in the Oval Office. Admiral Smith hands the president a message along with copies to both directors, then sits back and waits for their responses.

The president says, "Reading this message and the intelligence memo that goes with it, we can assume that our friends the Israelis are doing some kind of covert action."

"What the hell are they trying to do?" asks John Walker.

"Sir, the CIA has no information of any Israeli attempt to do something of this nature. Of course, I wouldn't expect them to tell us anyway. If you remember my suspicions at our previous meeting I have a gut feeling they would come up with something the way things are headed."

"Do you feel we can confront the prime minister or the Mossad about this, Allison?" asks President Egan.

"Well we could always hint we are aware of some type of operation on their part and see where it goes. Do I believe we will get an honest answer? No sir, I do not."

"John, how many additional satellites can we get to focus on Iran?"

"Sir, I can have three additional birds watching them by morning."

"Alright people, this is what I want to do. Have the navy give you the co-ordinates of the drop off and scope a radius inside of Iran for one hundred miles. Have every satellite we can get taking pictures of everything. It sounds like they dropped off a covert team, to do what, I don't know yet. But I want their body heat registered on our systems as soon as we can locate where they are. I want to know where they are and obtain details of what they are doing.

"I don't want this information out of this room. I will not jeopardize the team in anyway. If their team makes it out safely, then we can put some pressure on Israel and ask what the hell they are dong. If they don't make it out safely Iran will tell the whole wide world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Four Entering Iran

Aboard the Los Angeles class nuclear submarine Trenton the sonar chief on watch is listening for unusual noises that might detect movement from Iran.

"Control room, sonar, I have a sonar contact bearing 270 degrees, range ten thousand yards. It is making sounds as if it is a dolphin class submarine and it's rising to the surface."

"Sonar, control room, are you positive of that, chief?"

"Well sir, if it's not, I'll buy you a bottle of scotch."

"Messenger of the watch ask the captain to come to the control room."

Captain James Blair arrives in the control room and asks the chief if he can tell them anything else.

Captain, she is on the surface and it sounds like she has off loaded two powered underwater sleds."

"Can you track those sleds, chief?" says the captain.

"Yes sir, they are headed towards the Iranian shore."

Captain Blair checks with the OOD, "You are still on silent running as ordered correct?"

"Yes sir, we are!"

"Chief, follow the tracks of those sleds. Keep us posted here in control."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fletcher Cascade, White Mountains

Photos from Sunday's hike near Waterville Valley, NH.

Beginning the Fletcher Cascade trail with friend Linda Abels, daughter Dina Freedman in for a visit from Salt Lake City, husband Joe Smiga and me (Linda Feinberg). The first part was easy. Drake's Brook below.

Oh yes, I did a slip & fall here. Nothing serious, but I can tell I'm not young any more.

What a beautiful day. I love fall in New Hampshire. Chag Sameach to our Jewish friends & family (holiday of Sukkot).

With thanks to Dina Freedman for the photos. (I didn't realize the card in my camera was full. I was glad Dina had her camera with us.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Three Converting Iranian Missiles

"Gentlemen, I hear what you are saying. Somehow the Americans have overcome this issue. We need to do the same. We might have to steal their secrets.

"Givon and Fadil, I want both of you to make a missile housing and begin working on the proper alterations so that it will clear the torpedo tubes and make it flight efficient.

"Farook and Abbas, I want you to work on the initial firing system to get a missile underway and safely clear the submarine before ignition.

I am going to calculate to compensate for any physical weight changes whether it is internal or external, in order for us to attain accurate targeting.

"I want a working model to test fire out of a tube in twelve weeks. Does anyone have a problem with this? That gives us five and a half months for a final product."

The four engineers look at each other, their eyes betraying their doubts.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mt Kearsarge Fall 2008

Beautiful day on Sunday, October 5th (also Joe's 67th birthday). We hiked with a friend and enjoyed the views.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Two Meeting the Russian Mafiya

"I assume these are our guests that we are expecting from Pakistan. Grab a seat gentlemen. I don't have a great deal of time so let's get to the point." He doesn't even shake hands.

"Yes," Kamil says. "We were told by our fourth cousin that you could assist us in finding replacement parts for our business back home."

"What sort of business are you in?"

Hamid replies, "Our company is a brokerage company that obtains used equipment for many types of industries. Primarily we work with utilities and processing plants."

"What type of equipment are you looking for?"

"We have a list of mechanical components and even some electrical components that we are searching for to fulfill the needs of clients," replies Kamil.

"What kind of components?" The comment is made in a disparaging tone.

"The utilities we are looking to do business with are looking for large horsepower generators, impeller drives, gear reduction units, flow values, steam turbines and switch gear panels to operate their control rooms."

Hamid asks, "Is this something that you can assist us with or can you recommend someone else for us to visit while we are here?"

"Do you have the list with you?" Dimitri asks with a commanding tone.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rosh Hashanah, 5769

aveenu malkaynu

our father, our mother
nurturer of the soul
the rabbis tell us
we have five levels of soul
three in the physical body
two outside of it
I don’t pretend to understand
the intellectual arguments
I prefer to relate on
an emotional level

I feel the spirit when I climb
to the top of a mountain
and gaze at the beauty all around
I feel it when I chant in a group
the resonance in the room
bringing tears to my eyes
I feel it when I bake and cook
playing with the dough
and chopping the vegetables

nurturing the body
but first acknowledging the maker
our father, our mother
with a prayer of thanks

©2007 Linda H. Feinberg

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Endings and Beginnings

(Pickerel Weed, colored pencil drawing on black matboard.)

Summer is ending and fall beginning. The pickerel weed (member of water hyacinth family, pontederia cordata) will be gone soon and before we know it, ice will be on our lakes. The good part is that the mosquitoes and ragweed will also be gone soon. Most of my friends and readers know that I love winter, cold and snow, so I'm happy!

The month of Elul is also ending soon and Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) starts at sunset on Monday, September 29th. Elul is a month of reflection. Usually on serious subjects, but sometimes not. My reflection last week and this one was on computer problems. But I now have a new motherboard and video card, so perhaps I can focus on the holiday and new beginnings. I plan on cooking the traditional foods and Joe will add a little something different too.

May it be a good year, filled with joy, peace and good health for all. L'Shanah Tovah.

Chapter Twenty-One Enroute to Iran via Submarine

After breakfast Natan asks, "Commander, can we meet with the sled team that we will be working with?"

"Natan, the team you will be working with are both standing watch right now. I will get word to them that they can meet you in the wardroom at 1330. This will give the officers a chance to finish lunch without rushing and you can use the wardroom with some privacy. I can't imagine trying to make you do that in my stateroom."

Mark laughs, "Oh, I agree, Commander that would be a little tight."

At 1330 quartermaster first class Brian Greenberg and radioman second class Hal Michaelson knock on the wardroom door. Natan opens the door and invites them in.

Natan introduces himself and Mark then the four shake hands and sit down at the dining table. Plans are discussed on how to disembark from the submarine taking both Natan and Mark out by sled along with the gear they are carrying. Mark also makes a point of how they can be retrieved, plus the signaling process they will use to insure the team who they are.

Brian asks, "Are we correct in understanding you want us to take you only within thirty meters offshore?"

Mark replies, "Yes, we would like to travel just below the surface until we reach that distance. From that point on we will inflate the floatation devices. We will mount our air tanks onto your sleds and snorkel to shore."

Hal questions, "Will we be retrieving your gear when you are returning as well as yourselves? We need to know in order for us to insure we have the appropriate hookups on the sleds. I imagine you want us to just reverse the process and that means we also bring your tanks back."

Natan answers, "We will be taking back everything that we have not used while in the desert. We do not want to leave anything behind to indicate we were there. Yes, we will need our tanks for the return to the sub."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chapter Twenty Setting an Insertion Date into Iran

Natan begins by saying, "Captain we want you to transport us and to retrieve us as we have already accomplished two IDF missions with you as the commanding officer of the submarines we rode in on.

"Our mission will take anywhere from six to eight weeks to fully accomplish what the Mossad wishes to learn. Mark's and my greatest concern is how to be extracted if we develop circumstances that jeopardize our safety and requires us to abort the mission for Israel's sake not just our sake."

"Natan, I remember having you and Mark on the two missions you speak of. I feel comfortable with both of you doing this even though there is tremendous risk. What are you really asking me? Will my submarine always be around in case of emergencies? Based on the information I know, we cannot wait offshore for you. Can we stay in the area, yes if I am given orders to do so? Is that what you are waiting to hear?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ten Letters

Hebrew usually goes from right to left, but I created this bookmark to go from bottom to top, reflecting the Hasidic story, Ten Letters. The full story can be read in the book “Hasidic Tales” by Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Skylights Path Publishing. In summary, an illiterate man’s prayers are valued more than a famous rabbi’s. He only knows the first ten letters of the Hebrew aleph bet (alphabet), but he recites them fervently, asking God to make them into words. It’s a beautiful story and I think many of us can relate to it, especially when we don’t know the words to pray.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chapter Nineteen Getting Acquainted

They choose to have breakfast at a quaint restaurant they walked by the previous afternoon.

While sitting at the bay window in front, they notice the man who has been tailing them enter the same establishment.

"For crying out loud, this asshole is getting ridiculous," spoke Hamid.

Only this time the man approaches them and asks if he can sit at the same table for breakfast.

"We know that you are not the secret police because you are too damned obvious," rattles off Hamid.

"You're right I'm not. I am your ride to the noon meeting you have today. I will meet you in the lobby at 1100."

"Can we be sure you are telling us the truth?" spoke up Kamil.

"Your fourth cousin sent my boss the information you were coming and my boss wants me to spend some time with you to see if you are what you say you are."

"What are we ?" spoke Hamid.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chapter Eighteen Planning To Insert Into Iran

While Natan is speaking with Yosef on the phone, Mark is hanging blown up satellite pictures of their two target areas on the walls.

When Natan hangs up Mark says, "Lets lay out a grid for ourselves as how we need to enter Iran, time to the first target area, time spent at the first site."

"Mark what is the distance you have measured from the closest entry point to the first area?"

"Just under a hundred kilometers," replies Mark.

Natan says, "My thoughts are that they deliver us by submarine, and then they take us as close to shore as possible by underwater sleds."

"You know, Natan, this operation can never have an emergency extraction. If we get spotted inside of Iran, no one is going to do a fly by to get us out. It's our tits in the wringer."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The First of Elul (September 1st this year)

the first of Elul, 5758
a foggy morning on Mt. Kearsarge, NH

we ascend as our ancestors did
to pray and listen to the voice
of the shofar as it sounds
from the top of a mountain

we hear it call us
to return to our Jewish roots
as partners with each other
and with God

to begin the month of Elul
with a loud "tekiah"
a wake up to repent
to turn and return
to make new, make better
make a difference
to forgive and be forgiven

a call to prayer, to song,
to meditate
to leave behind our spiritual fog
and feel the divine presence

our voices rise in song
as we descend the mountain
the fog lifts
a gentle rain falls
and we understand why Jews
have always loved mountains

©1998 Linda H. Feinberg

Chapter Seventeen US Military Strategy

The president says, "Now, for the rest of the morning I want to hear and see what the three of you planned for an attack."

Presentations are made to the president and the four of them debate the strengths and weakness of each approach.

"It is now almost noon," spoke the president, "I'm having Janet send down an assortment of cold drinks and sandwiches for us to have lunch. Let's break now and go into our second scenario afterwards."

"Sir, if I may," asks the admiral, "Why is it that your staff and the Joint Chief are absent from this meeting?"

"Fair question, I knew all of you were thinking of it. I have to make the final decision. There will be plenty of time for my staff to get their political comments into the picture, before I do. I also feel that when someone is promoted to Joint Chief of Staff, they get politically involved and may not give me the military answers I am looking for. Gentlemen, you are the ones with your asses on the line after I make that decision. I expect better responses from the three of you. That is why I said that nothing will go out of this room."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the unveiling at Montefiore Cemetery

fascinated by cemeteries
we find ourselves wandering again
18 years after our second date to one
only this time in Queens, New York
not Manchester, New Hampshire
I read some of the Hebrew lettering on the stones
and am glad that I still remember my aleph bet

we stop and pray at a cousin's grave
his son beside him, dead at 30
I don't know how anyone
can bear the death of a child
but somehow we go on
some find strength in faith
others destroy themselves with alcohol
or pills, trying to deaden the pain

we walk to the site of the Lubavitcher rebbe's grave
and find a stone building over it, like a small temple
a steady stream of mourners remove their shoes
then enter to pray and ask for blessings
hasidim in black hats and long coats
one with Nike sneakers that seem incongruous
with his payes, beard and other garments
the physical death of this leader
did not end his spiritual legacy
or his inspirational messages to his followers
to lead a life of meaning

there are many gates here
the names of the donors inscribed on them
they remind me of transitions
from one world to the next
some too soon, others in their time
old stones shaped like trees with cut branches
mark the graves of young children
or the ones who died cut off in their prime

we finally reach the right gate
leading to the Feinberg headstone
"Chayah Gittel" "Aryeh Leib"
my aunt and uncle
no longer with us physically
but a baby boy already bears
my uncle's Hebrew name
a beautiful tradition continues

copyright 2003 Linda H. Feinberg (Tishrei/Heshvan 5764)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chapter Sixteen Getting to Russia

Arriving at the airport the driver leaves them off at the front entrance, and quickly departs without even saying have a good trip. At the inside monitor they check on their departure time. Their flight to Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) is on schedule, so they check their luggage and proceed through security. Their carry on bags will go into the racks above their seats.

On their way to the gate they stop and browse at a newsstand. Each of them buys a Pakistani newspaper.

Sitting at the gate, Kamil leans over to to Hamid and whispers, "There is a man standing by the entrance to the newsstand. He followed us around when we were inside. I may be getting paranoid now, but for some reason I think we have a tail."

Knowing enough not to look around and seem obvious Hamid says, "When we board the flight let's see what he does. It may be airport security or it could be someone Jibril ordered to follow us. I wouldn't put that past him."

Thirty minutes later Kamil and Hamid board the plane and take their seats. The man from in front of the newsstand boards as well, and takes his seat two rows behind them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chapter Fifteen It's a Go!

Ariel said, "When everything is set up for a launch date this is where we want you to go.

"There are a number of nuclear sites our intelligence and U. S. intelligence have identified. We know of another site no one seems to be talking about yet.

"We want you to monitor the site at Bampur. Our people think this out of the way location is doing uranium enrichment. We suspect its out of the way location was chosen so others would not consider it a possible site. We haven't heard a peep about this place yet. We suspect the security might be relaxed in order for it not to be a dead give away to anyone watching.

"Afterwards, we want you to monitor the military installation at Bandar Abbas. Security there could be problematic. We are looking for you to intercept communications and see what you can learn about their Kilo subs."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Swimming Frog

One unfinished painting from the class with Lian Zhen. This painting was on sized (single) rice paper using Chinese pigments & brushes. He was teaching us to do a painting in the half detail and half spontaneous style in this lesson. The frog was supposed to be swimming and looking up at the water lilies. I never got to the point of connecting the water lily stems. We were supposed to be looking at the splatters in a creative way, pulling out images of fish, tadpoles, clams etc. I liked the splattering and making mess parts, but I don't think I will finish the picture. It was a good learning experience.

Monday, August 11, 2008


After spending a full week painting (watercolor & Chinese art with Lian Quan Zhen at Omega, it took me a full week after my vacation (which wasn't a true vacation) to catch up with my business (Z-Best Bookkeeping). I loved the class, but haven't started painting again. I hope I will get inspired soon. I have lots of ideas. We didn't actually get to finish anything we started in the class, just learned many new techniques. I loved watching the demos and talking to the other students. I hope to incorporate some of the techniques into my own style of art.

Before I went to Omega, one of my clients insisted I take a portfolio of my cards with me. I thought that was a bit silly as I assumed the class would be filled with other artists who were undoubtedly better and why would they buy my art. I was wrong and sold quite a few cards. So, I have started putting them up on the FLICKR website where I have other photos. Today I posted the ones that I have available as small cards. As I have time, I will put more up.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

montaƱas verdes

connecting with a classmate from my college Spanish classes
forty years ago brings a few words of Spanish to my mind
she moved south to a place of sun and heat
I chose the north with its snow, ice and beautiful green mountains

our paths diverged in other ways
mine as a wandering Jew who went through a divorce
before settling down again in my chosen place
in a city, but near enough to my beloved mountains,
woods and lakes with my new love many years ago

again, as senior women, our paths diverge
as we move into the autumn of our lives
grateful for each day I still have my husband
and sorrowful for my friends who have lost
or are losing their life partners

are there any words to say to offer comfort?
I don’t know them. I can only offer to listen,
to be kind, to invite for shabbat dinner on occasion.

may your memories bring you some comfort
may you find joy and peace in each sunrise
and know that a rainbow appears after a storm

copyright 2008 Linda H. Feinberg

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chapter Fourteen US Military Strategy

Just before noon, the president's secretary advises him that the three military leaders are on the phone waiting for him to pick up.

"Admiral, generals, it is now three weeks since we met in the Situation Room and I am looking for an update on your strategy presentations.

"We will be meeting in three more weeks and I want each of you to come prepared to make strong points in whatever direction you recommend.

"I don't plan for this session to be a cake walk. I may get loud and emotional and I welcome you to do the same. Whatever goes on in that room will stay in that room.

"We have the safety and future of our country and the free world at stake.

"Janet will call you and give you a time and date for the meeting."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chapter Thirteen Final Decision by the Prime Minister

"Yosef, I am hearing some very creative ideas coming out of your group."

"Thank you Prime Minister, let's get it off the ground first and complete, then I'll tell you if it's such a good idea."

The Prime Minister raises his eyebrows, "What, where is that confidence level?"

"The confidence level of this being a good idea is there sir. However, I will feel better when we have our people back on Israeli soil and we have the data we need."

"Good, over confidence can lead to lousy planning and disasters."

"So Ariel, tell me how your meeting went with our two scouts?"

He shakes his head, "Well Yaakov, as the Americans say, they held us up at the pass."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chapter Twelve Covert Decision

On the fourteenth day of the promised two weeks, Natan calls Yosef.

With both his palms beginning to sweat, Yosef asks, "What did you and Mark decide?"

"We believe we need to have a second meeting. We think your plan might have merit. There are a number of issues we need to work out together.

"If we can come to a reasonable agreement for the overall operation and the costs then possibly we can come to terms."

"What are your terms?"

"Yosef, Yosef, this is not something that can be decided over the phone. Have Ariel come by with you, if he is the real decision maker. If he is not, then bring whoever is the decision maker."

Yosef hangs up his phone and sits staring blankly at his office wall as if it had a video on it.

My God, maybe this is a good idea after all.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Water Lilies July 08

Enjoyable walk again in Hooksett. We found more ponds to explore and lots of hoof prints (deer tracks). Joe was very excited about that part. I reminded him of how many minutes it took us to walk to that area and how would he drag a deer out from there. He's thinking about it. It would be a long haul. Anyway, he has to find out if hunting is allowed in that area first, but we didn't see any posted signs. We think it is public land because we have seen Fish and Game Department trucks there. Pretty butterflies there too. I posted a few more photos on the Flickr site.

Friday, July 4, 2008

spring violets

spring violets
My spring photo became a colored pencil drawing.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Today's flowers

Chapter Eleven A Second Meeting with Jibril

"Am I being assigned to one of the submarines?" asks Muhammad.

"No, you were given the training to learn the ins and outs of the torpedo room and to understand the physical limitations that you will be dealing with."

"I am sorry, I don't understand; if I am not being assigned to a submarine then what good is that information to me."

"Muhammad, you are going to lead a team of engineers that will ensure we are going to be able to fire our new Shahab 3 missile from beneath the ocean just like the Americans launch their cruise missiles."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

About Being Visible

in the mountains

heard but not seen
the voice of the bullfrog
resonant and clear
calling for a mate
the pond green with lily pads
and algae
the trail skirting around it
as we continued downhill

back at the camp
a rabbit and a doe
clearly seen
quietly returning
to the meadows and woods
seen but not heard
invisibly blending
with their surroundings

and beautiful birds
both seen and heard
visible in the world
present and joyous
as we can be
when we connect
to ourselves
to each other
and to God

copyright 2002 Linda H. Feinberg
from chapbook "Gathering the Sparks"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chapter Ten Meeting with the Desert Rats

Natan rises and says, "Well gentlemen, we have a lot to think about. You have evidently thought about this for awhile. Don't expect us to give you an answer overnight. We will get back to you in two weeks, whether or not we are interested."

"So, what do you think, Yosef?" As they climb into the new Volvo that Ariel received as his latest car.

"I think they are very intelligent individuals. I can see why they did not continue as officers in the military. Both of them express a sense of disrespect for authority. Yet, I sense they will come back with a proposal.

"Ariel, I read their military files. These men are not frightened easily and I suspect they realize what the political situation is with Iran.

"I think they will realize that this plan is probably a last ditch effort on Israel's part to undercover the truth about Iran before the Israeli government reacts."

Speeding down the highway to Tel Aviv, Ariel frowns and asks, "What do you suggest that we do if they say no."

"Ha, you are the director Ariel; don't lay that one on me."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hooksett trail

Easy walking/biking trail in Hooksett, NH - just a few miles for us. The trailhead is across from Green's Marine on Route 3 north. This was an old, abandoned railroad bed. The trail is next to a new development, but as you walk further in, it becomes more interesting. Ponds, clouds, little frogs, a big rock with interesting graffiti, another rock with a head that looked like a sheep (photo above). We checked the topo map when we returned home and this trail connects with the trails behind Dube's Pond that we have hiked and cross-country skied many times (snowmobile trails). Some bikers told Joe there were fish in the pond so he'll go back another day with his fishing gear to see for himself.

More photos at:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chapter Nine Situation Room in the White House

After pouring himself some water from the pitcher, the President opens the meeting saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the NSA and CIA directors are going to make a presentation regarding the escalation of Iran's nuclear intentions.

"When this presentation is completed, I want each and every one of you to comment on three things.

"What additional means of dialog can we generate to convince Iran to abide by their previous non-proliferation agreements?

"If Iran persists in going ahead with their hard line tactics enriching uranium and possibly developing nuclear weapons, what military means can we use to stop them?

"Last, if we are to take a military course of action, what results are you expecting? What kind of retaliation do you foresee the Iranians taking?"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


In the blink of an eye
Many hours have gone by ...

While I enjoyed putting together the puzzle from my friend (750 pieces), I found it somewhat obsessive. Always trying to find one more piece to fit. My friends find jigsaw puzzles relaxing. I did not.

Putting the puzzle together reminded me of the photos I've seen of Tibetan lamas making a beautiful mandala with colored sand. When they are done, they sweep it away... part of their spiritual practice.

Now that I'm done with the puzzle, I will take it apart and put it in the box and pass it on to another friend. I think I'll stick with nature walks, hiking and music for my spiritual practice. I admire the lamas, but I need to take my own path.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

two cats stalking

now that the dog’s gone
the cats come brazenly into the yard
stalking the birds and squirrels

we have a suet feeder on a tree and
a “squirrel proof” bird feeder
hanging from a pole

the cats remind me of the nature shows on TV
big cats stalking their prey on the African savannah

these domestic cats are well fed, though,
and don’t need to catch their prey
they just wander off into the next yard
as the birds fly off

the squirrels chatter at them
but know it’s safe to come back down
once they’re gone

copyright 2008 Linda H. Feinberg

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Chapter Eight Instructions from the Prime Minister

Mossad's director calls his team leader, "Come down to my office, we need to talk."

Shit this doesn't sound very good. I wonder if the Prime Minister shot down the idea.

As Yosef walks through Ariel's doorway, he still can't pick up any positive vibes from Ariel.

"Yosef, set up a meeting with this clandestine team you know. You and I will be the only Mossad attendees. If we reach some mutual agreement we must meet with the Prime Minister.

Yosef's face shows that he is surprised the prime minister wants him in a meeting.

"Yes, both of us will meet with him to explain this."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Shavuot (Feast of Weeks)

we were all there at Mt. Sinai
at revelation
we were all there at the exodus
freed from slavery
all generations
past, present and future
all the sinners and saints
wise ones and fools
all together in God's eternal
unfathomable plan
all still struggling today
to understand our part in it

let us celebrate the harvest of the first fruits
the learning of the aleph-bet
the completion of counting the omer
our freedom to study torah
and rejoice in this multi-named holiday
while we continue to pray for peace
and work for a better world for all . . .

chag sameach

(multi-named: Feast of Weeks, Bringing in the First Fruits,
Giving of the Torah etc.; chag sameach-happy holiday)

copyright 2002 Linda H. Feinberg, from my chapbook
“Gathering the Sparks”

This year (2008), Shavuot starts at sundown on Sunday, June 8th.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Chapter Seven Directed by the President

"John, as CIA director and former deputy director I have never seen a joint meeting held by our two agencies. I sense that you feel it is too touchy of a situation and I am hoping we can provide the president with what he needs and not let inter-agency pettiness get in the way."

"Allison, I'm surprised that you even think this."

"Okay John, you're surprised, but I want to lay my cards on the table. This is a national security issue and we cannot allow ourselves to present this information in any way but a jointly supported proposal. We cannot use this forum to grandstand. We need to clarify the issues and give our opinions as jointly supported or give them with each other's viewpoints. I don't want you to come up with something that will make the CIA appear incompetent and I will not do that to the NSA. Everything we discuss here is for presentation. Should other issues arise before the meeting, let's both agree to notify the other. Clear!"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Selling My Cards

Best advice from Sunday's exhibit -- only do tables or exhibits where there are lots of people there for another function. This seems to be working for me. I sold quite a few cards at the last two functions (one in Derry, one in Manchester). I have a better idea now of what interests people. It would seem that they like the prayers or verses with my watercolors or photos behind them. They don't seem to be fussy as to which ones are calligraphy and which ones use the word processor (Hebrew or English) and are much neater. Sample below.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chapter Six Jibril's Plan

"How do our new recruits look?" Jibril asks the party he speaks to on the phone.

"Everything appears to be the way we expect it to be. Nothing appears out of the ordinary, we are not getting any word of them mentioning anything," answers the caller.

"Good, set their pick ups in motion and do everything according to the plans we have," said Jibril.

"Call me when they complete their training sessions, before they officially get into their assignments. I wish to speak with them again."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Maine - Memorial Day Weekend

Had a good time in Maine - did almost 400 miles round trip. We visited friends in the Belgrade Lakes area. They took us to the cemetery where Joe’s “other mother” (Irene Proctor) was buried this winter. She was in her 90’s and we miss her. This is a poem I wrote about her a few years ago.

visit with an old friend in Waterville

at the sunset of life
she is content with a blueberry muffin
and watching the Red Sox on TV
her gnarled hands perfectly manicured
her white hair beautifully arranged

she walks with a cane now
but is still filled with energy
and a positive attitude
adjusting gradually to her new room
making new friends with her dry Maine humor
and slowly realizing she will not go home again

copyright 2002 Linda H. Feinberg, from my chapbook “Gathering the Sparks”

Then on to Lewiston where we went to the Bates College Museum. Senior student art exhibit. Also a Japanese kimono exhibit and a Mount Katahdin paintings exhibit. Small and very nice museum. Talented students. The exhibits change during the year. We were glad we got to see this one.

After Lewiston we drove to the "Sleepy Hollow" Motel in Biddeford (our cheapy night - less than $60.) We were pleasantly surprised. The motel was clean, quiet and had very comfortable beds.

On Sunday we hiked Ossipee Hill in Waterboro, Maine. Took us 2 hours 20 minutes with stops for views & a snack. Went up the fire tower and got great views. Could see Mt Washington's snowy peaks from there too. (I think that’s over 100 miles) There was a family cemetery at the beginning of the hike (dirt road, old stone walls). Most of the graves were from the 1800's. Some of the men served in the Mexican war and Spanish-American war. We said prayers there appropriate for Memorial Day weekend. Also saw my old enemy - poison ivy, but I avoided it and we had an enjoyable weekend away. (If you double click on the picture below, you will get a bigger version and you can see the snowy peaks better.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Where Can You Be Reached? Part Five of Five

Locations, phone numbers, cell phone numbers. Would you care to be called if you are away for an extended period of time? This should all be part of the contract that you both have copies of.

The client should have the phone number to always be able to reach the sitter if they have a question they are concerned about. Example: I had a client contact me in the middle of one day; she was out on the west coast and had heard we were having tornadoes back east. I assured her we were having severe thunderstorms but no tornadoes. I told her the horses were in their stalls; however, if she was truly concerned I would drive out to her place and make an extra check for her. She said, “No, that’s okay. I just needed to know for sure.” That evening, after I watered and fed them, I called her before I left the property and advised her they were okay and everything was fine around her home. She was a relaxed lady after we spoke.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I was in Derry this weekend at the local synagogue. I had my cards and prints out on a table at their function (for Israel's 60th birthday). That's what made me think of the poem about East Derry. I lived in Derry (NH) from 1979 to 1984. At the time I moved in, there was one traffic light and one other Jewish family. I'm happy for the thriving Jewish community there and they put on a good party!

I sold a few cards and one chapbook. I have a better idea of what people are looking to buy now. Lots of positive comments too. Good feedback for an artist/poet.

the church steeple in East Derry

"the dead don't need to tell time," said the caretaker
that's why the south side of the steeple is plain,
as it faces the old cemetery across the street --
the other three sides have working clock faces

some brave and hardy soul climbs the stairs
and winds the mechanism when needed
probably lubricating the gears too
nothing digital or electric here

will our modern timepieces still be working
one hundred years hence,
or will they be considered antiques then too?

the old clock will still go on, another hundred years,
as long as someone cares enough
to climb the steep stairs
and wind it

copyright 2001, Linda H. Feinberg

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chapter Five Proposal for a Covert Team

"What kind of team do you have in mind?"

We, make this sound like the group knows this, are aware of two very highly trained special operations people who are capable of living in the desert for long periods of time. They are high tech specialists and with the right equipment we could probably monitor gas emissions, conversations, movements of equipment and people.

"The two have been released from active IDF duty and have set up a business of doing their own corporate intelligence, security and hazardous condition training. This would come with a price tag but doesn't everything?"

"And if they get caught what are the consequences for Israel?"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

Some pretty violets growing in my yard. I think I will regret mowing them when the time comes.

My first time on a tractor. (Jake's new tractor -- all ready for hauling logs out of his woodlot.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Workshop Poems

grandma’s teeth

grandma’s teeth were in a glass by the sink
the kids had never seen them out of her mouth
she always looked so together
perfect hair and makeup
up-to-date clothing, always in style
not the like the rest of the desert rats
wind-blown and sandy

she wouldn’t clean the corrals
or ride a horse
while watching out for rattlesnakes
but she wasn’t so perfect after all
her city manners told one story
but her teeth in the glass told another

(Instructions: tell a brief story – to do with an action; include enough detail so we know what character’s life is like, no pronouns)


shadows lie under
the trees in the corral
horses stand quietly
in the heat of day
flies buzz around
their heads

shadows under
the picnic bench
shelter panting dogs
creating a dark cave
cooler than shadows
in the corral

crows squawk quietly
from Joshua trees nearby
the two fillies stand together
swishing their tails
a door slams and they
look expectantly towards
the house for someone
bringing hay or carrots

shadows hide peeling paint
on the old house
barely more than a trailer
obscuring the poverty within
children in ragged indigo jeans
do their chores lethargically
while waiting for nightfall

Instructions: write about a thing (not an animal). Focus on an object. More evocative. Let the object speak for you. No first person. There were lots of instructions for this. Had to keep re-writing. Had to leave out a paragraph about the animals (the focus was on shadows/not animals) I put it back in for the blog.

evocation – showing, calling forth an act/drawing it out (yes)
exposition – telling, action setting forth, explaining (no)

Since we had returned from vacation shortly before the workshops, the images in my head were of the horses, grandchildren, desert etc. As a grandma, I still have most of my own teeth. Artistic/poetic license, I guess. Also, the house the grandchildren live in is fine and they are not ragged! Had to come up with some images that went with “shadows”.

copyright 2008 Linda H. Feinberg

Thursday, May 8, 2008

You should have a written contract (Part four of five)

Details of the duties of the sitter should be written out in the contract. Beyond watering and feeding, turning in and out, for some clients I provide grooming and hoof cleaning. This also provides a full body check each time it is done.

In the summer fly masks might be needed and in the winter blankets might be needed. Stalls need to be cleaned and shavings or sawdust need to be replaced.

Some clients don’t believe in daily grooming, so that is spelled out. It also allows for a lower fee.

As a sitter, I also provide exercising for horses. If exercising is to be done that needs to be listed as to what the time durations are to be and how often the horses are to be exercised.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Linda in 1970

Portrait to go along with the poem about Cheryl. I still had somewhat long brown curly hair in my 20's. This watercolor was done in Leuven, Belgium by a friend, Sue Maros Feldmar. Our husbands (my ex now) were both in medical school there. I was working in Brussels at the time as a secretary.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chapter Four in the Oval Office

President Egan goes on, "Allison has indicated to me that we need to be brought up to speed on the critical situation of the nuclear threat developing in Iran."

"Allison the floor is yours!"

"Thank you sir! We are aware of the rhetoric that the president of Iran has been putting out over Iran's right to have nuclear capabilities for domestic use.

"This recently elected president has an advantage that past presidents have not had. Iran is beginning to sit very comfortably with a major influx of money caused by the skyrocketing prices of oil. They appear to be using a great deal of that money for major expansions in their nuclear program.

"Intelligence reports indicate that Iran has several nuclear development sites. We now know they are using over 450 nuclear experts. Their secret nuclear weapons program is being supervised by the military and their Supreme Leader. Remember the president is more of a mouth piece; the Supreme Leader is the one who is in control. The Supreme Leader and the mullahs that he chooses are in control."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

High School, 1964 (Great Neck, NY)

for Cheryl, class of 1964

38 years later I looked across the table
and saw a face from high school
"remember me?" I asked . . .
oh yes — she remembered my long brown curly hair
her mother holding me up as a role model
what a different view

I thought of myself as one of the square pegs
always trying but never fitting in
a bony big-hipped teen
thinking contact lenses
would help me be more attractive
never imagining someone could be envious of me
and my long brown curly hair

copyright 2002 Linda H. Feinberg

I met Cheryl again when at a retreat center in the summer of 2002. It was a strange feeling to look across the table and actually recognize someone from my past. I left NY after high school (1964) and while I returned a number of times, I wandered for many years before finally settling down in New Hampshire in 1979.

The long brown curly hair is long gone, but I grew out my grey/white hair for over one year, had it cut (10 inch braids) and donated it. It feels good to be short again for the summer, but I enjoyed the long hair while I had it. Still curly. Glad I'm not a teenager today. It was rough enough in the 60's. Oh yes, I still have the hips, but I'm definitely not bony any more.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring Haiku

three girls walking by
lavender and blue blouses
their flip flops flapping

© 2005 Linda H. Feinberg

Spring Flowers

Spring flowers are finally appearing. The early veggies are planted and today we have rain to help them along.

I sold a good order of small cards, 5 each of 8 designs - spring flowers. Here are two, showing the beautiful flowers & trees.

I added more flower and tree photos (and some art) on Flickr.
These are available as note cards. E-mail me for pricing (

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Can your horse sitter identify if your horse is not well?

What you should expect from your Horse Sitter (Part Three of Five)

When did your horse have colic last?

Just as horse insurance companies want to know the answer to that question. It is important for the sitter to know if your horse is prone to colic.

I always ask a client if they have made previous financial arrangements with their vet and their farrier if they need to be called when the client is away.

The client agreement, we sign together, authorizes me to pay for these services if no previous arrangement has been made. The client will then reimburse me.

I feel this is one of the critical areas that need to be addressed in horse sitting. Emergencies happen and expert help needs to be brought in immediately at times. To worry about who is going to pay the bill only delays effective treatment for your animals. My vet always has my credit card number on file.

from Psalm 104 framed art

I experimented with my new tripod today (Thank you, Seth). I am trying to learn how to take pictures of my originals without the glass making a big white mess (from the flash).
This art was done originally in a workshop (watercolor and wax) with Jeanne Lachance. I added the calligraphy later after I had time to think about my picture.

Monday, April 21, 2008

for Earth Day

I have found strength in fire
the fire in the burning bush
the eternal light
the sabbath candles

the souls of my ancestors call me
to continue their traditions
linking my children
from revelation at Mount Sinai
to a torah for today

to find a voice
to chant the sacred words
to sing and dance in joy
to sorrow at a world gone mad with materialism
to strive for a connection to all living things
for all are holy
infused with the flow of spirit

from the smallest seedling
struggling to grow in a polluted lot
to the largest mammals facing extinction
from our desecration of their environment

the eagle is still with me in my dreams
soaring over the mountains and lakes
but in reality I am the turtle
plodding along
slowly creating change
one poem at a time

copyright 2000 Linda H. Feinberg

Friday, April 18, 2008

leaving Egypt - the women's story

and God said,
go forth from eretz mitzraim

and the women said,
how shall we provide for our children?
our milk will dry up in the desert wind
our bodies will shrivel and
be one with the grains of sand

you will find water to drink
and manna to eat
your bodies will be fruitful
and bring forth the next generation
your children will dwell in the promised land
your daughters will be free women
and your sons will cherish them

do not be afraid
for I have chosen you
the descendants of Sarah, Rivkah,
Rachel, Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah
to be a blessing to the nations

trusting in God once again
they packed their possessions
joining Miriam in joyous song
they left their slavery behind

though they remain nameless to this day
we remember their courage every year
as we tell the Passover story

eretz mitzraim - the land of Egypt (Hebrew)

©1996, Linda H. Feinberg (This poem is in my chapbook "Gathering the Sparks)

Happy Passover. Enjoy and diet later!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mojave April 2008

Too many photos to show. Go to this site to see them. Lots of horses, desert, grandkids.

Chapter Three Inside Iran

As the Morning Prayer service comes to a close, three men are standing around the mosque; they acknowledge each other's presence by eye contact, and then proceed to leave the mosque by different exits.

Their instructions are they would be picked up by a black Mercedes limousine, one in front of the mosque, one would walk three blocks to the right of the stairs in the front entrance, the third would walk around the rear of the mosque, proceed four blocks to the right.

Muhammad Abdullah, Kamil Hussein, and Hamid Akhman are waiting according to instructions. Each enters the vehicle and sits next to each other in the comfortable rear seat facing the passenger. They do not expect the man sitting in front of them to be an advisor to the Supreme Leader of Iran.

"You gentlemen look like the cat that just swallowed a mouse."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mojave 2008

The first picture shows Joe, Sharon and Jamie exercising all five horses. The second one shows the two yearling fillies. (Missouri Fox Trotters)

We are back from vacation. Flight was delayed and we arrived at 2:00 a.m. Too tired to write. Just posting some horse pictures. We had a great time with the kids, grandkids, horses & dogs. Will send more photos to the Flickr site later today or tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Continuing comments on horse sitting

What you should expect from your Horse Sitter (Part Two of Five)

Next a sitter should show you a written contract that indicates they are insured. I am also bonded. This contract deals with a number of issues. You should be held harmless if the sitter is injured while taking care of your horses provided you made them aware of any particular vices your horses might have. (Vices to be addressed on another form) It should include, the dates of the services and the location. The different services the sitter will be performing. My contract points out that the client needs to call me when they return home. This is to assure both of us that the horses will be taken care of even after the closing date on the contract. Planes get delayed, traffic accidents can happen or who knows what else could delay someone getting back home. Horses are sensitive animals which could have health problems if drastic changes occur to their feeding schedules.

A sitter needs to know everything about your horses. Their feeding habits, grains, amounts of hay, supplements, how much water they normally drink, can they have room temperature carrots or apples? My animal record sheet lists the times of both feedings as well as medical information and vices of each animal.

A sitter should be willing to return at no-charge for a walk through feeding to become familiar with your methods. Horses enjoy and feel safe with consistency.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Joan's crocuses

Joan's crocuses. The front of her house faces the sun and her plants are coming up already. I'm jealous!

Spring is slowly making its way to our frigid state. Soon we'll have mud season, then shortly after that will be black fly season. There are still lots of snow piles around, but they are gradually melting and I'll be able to turn the soil and put in the compost in about 10 days.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Frogs are on the list of Passover plagues, but I don't think they meant tree frogs. This is one of my favorite colored pencil drawings.

Tree Frog2

Friday, April 4, 2008

Chapter One inside Mossad Headquarters 2010

"So what do you propose we do?" Shlomo exclaimed.

"I am aware of two very good ex-elite force members who might be exactly what we are looking for. They lived in the desert for months as a surveillance team.

"If we can get them to see first hand what is going into and out of the sites we are concerned about, then possibly we will have our answers."

"What! Put two Jews on Iranian soil," says Avi. "What if they are captured, that is enough to make a declaration of war, then where do we stand?"

"Avi, we didn't ask for this shit." The world is already aware that Iran's president said Israel should be wiped off the map. Isn't that a declaration of war?"

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Next year in Jerusalem.

Artwork copyright 2006 Linda H. Feinberg

Jerusalem with rainbow copy


Five years ago I celebrated Passover (Pesach) by myself as Joe was in the hospital recuperating from cancer surgery. I feel blessed that we have had these years together and that he recovered and did not have another recurrence of the cancer. We are still praying for world peace although it is hard to be optimistic at times. Passover this year starts at sunset Saturday, April 19th and we are looking forward to the singing, family time and food!

seder for one

so strange, a table set for one this year
candles, matzah, a seder plate but only one attending
poor Elijah will have to manage with grape juice
I see no point in drinking wine alone

I read some of the haggadah aloud
sing a few phrases and finish silently
I'm sure God understands
as my mind goes back and forth
between past and future
the present too difficult right now

Passover is about freedom, but what value is freedom
without my husband, soulmate and life partner
here to speak these words, chant these prayers with me
this night so different (but not in the traditional sense)

next year, not in Jerusalem as the prayer says,
but at home, together, family and friends
healed and at peace
for us and the rest of the world


copyright 2003 Linda H. Feinberg

Notes for those not familiar with Passover rituals:
seder = order, the traditional Passover meal
haggadah = the telling, the liturgy/prayers/story we read of the exodus from Egypt
dayenu = it would have been enough, repetitive phrase from one of the songs
ma nishtanah = "why is this night different from all other nights" -- the youngest child reads (usually sings) this prayer, the haggadah attempts to answer the questions in a roundabout way
at the end of the seder, an outside door is opened and the prophet Elijah invited in to drink from his own special wine cup and encouraged to bring the messiah to us

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What you should expect from your horse sitter.

(Part One of Five)

A professional horse sitter will not just agree to take care of your horses. They will want to come and visit with you and your horses free-of-charge.

The most important issue for an owner at this first meeting is to see how that person mingles with your horses. You want them to get inside the corral or the barn to touch your horses in a gentle way. See how they talk to them and most importantly see how the horses interact with them. If they are hesitant to do this, then you as the owner shouldn’t feel bad to say, “I don’t think this is a good mix.”

Should your horses be inside their stalls due to bad weather, when I arrive. I always go in the stalls with them, and then ask permission to lead them in and out of the stall for a short walk. Afterwards, I tell the prospective client whether or not, I am willing to sit their horses.

If you feel the mix is good, then you and the sitter begin the planning process.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

picking the bones

making chicken soup
not quite my mother’s way
I remember the women sitting in her kitchen
munching on boiled chicken feet
and sucking marrow out of other cooked bones

her friends were younger than I am now
but they seemed like old women to me then
it’s all in perspective

where are the chicken feet now?
hard to find in a supermarket
but an asian market stocks them
along with tongue and other exotic foods

I rarely buy these now
preferring mostly vegetarian recipes
but when holidays come
I still cook mother’s soup
complete with giblets, fennel
and matzah balls

copyright 2006 Linda H. Feinberg

Just a note -- Passover is coming and I bought Matzah along with other goodies for our seder while at the grocery store last night. It made me think of this poem.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Purim

Happy Purim. We will be going to a party tonight. Joe plans on dressing in his western clothes, complete with stetson type hat. I’ll add a bandana to my hair. That should be festive enough. For those who wonder about this Jewish holiday, it is based on the biblical Book of Esther and we have fun dressing in costumes. We read the story, sing songs and eat a festive meal too.

While it is still winter here (despite technically being the first of spring), we are looking forward to our trip to visit our grandchildren in April. Last year “Lucky” was born on my birthday, just a few hours before we arrived. This photo from last year shows her nursing. She’ll be all grown up when we see her again.

Meanwhile, I thought I would post another poem. This one is old, from my first poetry book, but I still like the image of the early spring flowers. It will probably be another four weeks before we see them here in New Hampshire.

Dressed in lavender and pink
spring arrives
like the long awaited bridesmaids
slowly marching down the aisle
stately in demeanor
anxiously awaiting
the show to begin.

copyright 1990 Linda H. Feinberg from "red poppies and green clover"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Reducing your anxiety about your horses when you're away

What do you need to learn about having just anyone sit your horses?

What did I hear you say, you can’t take time off because you don’t know who you can trust with your horses? Maybe, you’ve had bad experiences in the past with others you have hired. I hear these statements often and some sad tales as well.

Possibly you are not doing your homework. Possibly you are unaware there are individuals available who are experienced professional horse sitters.

There is a way to reduce your anxiety about leaving your horses when you go away, by finding a reliable horse sitter.

One key way is to check with veterinary offices, feed stores, farriers, boarding stables, newspapers where a professional sitter may advertise, or even website links for their postings, for those who service your area.

Starting in two weeks, I will post a series of information, providing what horse owners should expect from a professional sitter. I hope that you enjoy them.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Tourists at Masada

Dead Sea

buses drive along the Dead Sea
filled with tourists of all colors and creeds
modern cable cars bring them up to
the ancient fort called Masada

I can’t imagine anyone living here
especially thousands of years ago
but we are seeing empty cisterns
the storage rooms, baths,
their “apartments” along the walls,
Herod’s broken down palace,
nesting sites for the pigeons
the Snake Path and Roman ramp,
the difficult access to this place in the past

we say a prayer in the old synagogue
one of our group brought a tallis
and prayer book for this purpose
the rest of us are busy with our cameras
while listening to the guide
trying to understand the fear
the zealots had of Roman slavery
their decision to commit suicide
no escape – no other options
soldiers camped all around
outnumbering them

while history is being brought to life for us
I notice the birds chirping and a tree growing
in the dry and barren soil
the birds seem comfortable with the tourists –
after all they can fly away quickly
the tree reminds me that life renews and
beauty can blossom
even in a place of such desolation

copyright 2006 Linda H. Feinberg
published 2006, BU Arts & Sciences (partial)
and The Reporter

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Redbud Tree explained

Joe and I took a trip to Israel in March of 2006. I had never seen a redbud tree before and was impressed with the beautiful blossoms. I took a photo looking up. I like to play with oil pastels (they are like kids crayons) and made a drawing. I experimented with pen and ink (calligraphy) on a transparency, but I decided to use the computer and printer instead for the writing. I added a transparency over the drawing with both the Hebrew and English verses from Song of Songs 2:11-12 (I have a Hebrew word processor as well as an English one).

For now the winter is past,
The rains are over and gone,
The blossoms appear on the land . . .

Of course, it is still winter here in New Hampshire, but we can dream about spring. I already bought some seeds for my garden and I hope to see some bare ground in the next few weeks.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Art Exhibit

My art exhibit is up at the Federation , 698 Beech Street, Manchester, NH and I have been receiving positive feedback. I have a basket of card samples in the anteroom, prints and paintings in the hallway. I have already sold one oil pastel (redbud tree with verse from Song of Songs - on right) and I’m very happy about that. As a student artist I always have anxiety about how my “vision” will be received, but so far so good!

Winter is still here, but we are thinking about spring and summer plans. We can see a little bit of grass peaking through the snow. The sun even comes out to play from time to time although the trees have been dancing quite a bit with the heavy winds. Some mornings I actually hear the birds singing. A good sign.

We received a brochure in the mail about a retreat center in New York. While browsing, I saw a familiar artist’s name and I am hoping to take a workshop with him this summer. Joe could also attend the center and take a different workshop. We are still researching and waiting for more information from other places we have attended in the past, but I’m leaning toward this one.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Gan Eden (Garden of Eden)

Four or five of us meet at the funeral home
quietly reviewing the procedures,
our roles and the prayers we will say.

Silently we enter the preparation room,
gather our supplies, wash and glove our hands.
We stand respectfully around the departed
and begin the prayer, slowly and with feeling,
first in Hebrew, then in English, so all can understand.

As I say the words, my mind visualizes this woman,
beautiful and healthy again, vibrant with life,
dancing with the other souls,
free at last in the Garden of Eden.

copyright 2003 Linda H. Feinberg

(Quote from the liturgy)"May she tread with righteous feet into the Garden of Eden, for that is the place of the upright, and God protects the feet of the pious."

Green Burial – Hevra Kadisha

At a meeting of Jewish artists recently I was asked whether we had a hevra kadisha (holy burial society) in the state. I mentioned that there were several. The questioner wanted to know why this wasn’t announced somewhere. I hesitated to answer because it’s a touchy subject and those of us who are involved are not really supposed to discuss it.

Meanwhile I have noticed recent newspaper articles about “green burials” and also about the Muslim burial rites clashing with Connecticut laws. It would seem that the Muslim rites are very similar to the Jewish rites – burial within 24 hours, washing the body, wrapping it in a special cloth. Since the state of Connecticut won’t allow burial without a casket or vault (burial liner) if the cemetery resides within 350 feet of homes, the Muslims are being flexible and respecting the laws of the land. They also put some soil in the coffin or vault so that the body is in touch with the earth in accordance with Islamic law. Jews who are not being buried in Israel frequently have dirt from Israel placed in the coffin as well.

Green burials seem to be catching on as people become concerned about the environment and the costs associated with the average traditional funeral ($6,500 according to the National Funeral Directors Association) plus the cemetery costs. Cremations are also increasing.

As Jews we have choices in our state. We can have a funeral director guide us, or we can use our own traditions for guidance. Our traditions are already “green” – no chemical preservatives, no metal casket, and are less harmful to the environment. The hevra kadisha is divided into two groups, one for preparation of women, one for preparation of men. We are very respectful of the deceased at all times, saying prayers (both in Hebrew and English), washing, shrouding and placing the body in a wood coffin (interestingly enough the Hebrew word “Aron” is used both for the coffin and for the “Aron Kodesh” – the holy ark which holds the torah).

Another group is asked to provide a “shomer” (watcher, guard) at all times until the coffin is buried. We usually take one to two hour shifts. It is traditional to read psalms while you are sitting with the coffin. It is not necessary for any of the people involved to actually know the deceased.

For more information, contact your local rabbi. Also, on the web, good materials can be found at, and other sites. Just do a search for “hevra kadisha” or “green burial” or “Muslim burial rites” – I’m sure you’ll find something interesting.