This and That

Random bits of my life

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Flowers from Work

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 4, 2017


When I got a text message this afternoon about a flower delivery, I thought that it might be a hostess gift from my sister-in-law, who is staying with us for a couple nights. Baruch thought the flowers might be from friends wishing me luck when I start my new job at Red Hat tomorrow. I was stunned to discover they were from Red Hat. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an employer doing that!

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Alleys of San Polo

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 27, 2016

The neighbourhood around the Rialto Market in San Polo, Venice, is a warren of tiny alleys. The arches overhead, with weeds growing out of the cracks, seem to serve no structural purpose. I was told that they signified ownership; if someone owned two adjacent buildings, an arch would be built between them to show that they had the same owner. You often see these arches at the entrance to a small square which, in Renaissance times, often belonged to an extended family. (That also explains the impressive churches found in tiny, out-of-the-way, courtyards.)


The bridge at the end of the Fondamenta Riva Olio (by the Grand Canal) ends at a wall that forms one end of the Pescheria (fish market). In this photo, you can see the arches of the fish market on the left.


If you walk in the colonnade behind the tourist shops of the Rialto Market (yes, the stores with the scarves, souvenir magnets, leather bags, and San Marco banners) and look up, you’ll see these old, unprotected frescos over walls covered with graffiti. The sheer volume of artwork in Venice is staggering. I took these photos in the morning, before the shops had opened, so it wasn’t too crowded.


Detail of fresco and groin-vaulting.

IMG_2279.jpg IMG_2278.jpg

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Venice Lagoon–Old and New

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 27, 2016

If you take the vaporetto to Burano, you will pass the abandoned island of Madonna del Monte (mountain? really?). It has been the site of a monasteries since the middle ages; Napoleon destroyed the last one. The building in the photo below was built in the 19th century, as a powder magazine. The island is eroding rapidly because the retaining wall has crumbled.


I’m not sure where I photographed these houses, but they were on the #12 vaporetto route from Torcello. Maybe Isola dei Laghi, but I haven’t been able to track them down on Google earth view.


San Michele in Isola, on the cemetery island (Cimitero di San Michele). I’ve never stopped there, but I hope to some day.


Southern wall of San Michele:


This strange-looking beast is the bridge for the Venice People Mover. The monorail train connects the historical center of Venice with the Marittima cruise terminal and Piazzale Roma, the point of entry for buses, trains, cars, and the Tronchetto parking island. Personally, I’ll stick with the vaporetti and my own two feet….


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Maale Adumim Panoramas

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 6, 2015


These panorama photos were course assignments. The first photo shows the artificial lake at the entrance to Maale Adumim. It was taken from the security road above the artificial lake. It was very dark and for once I was glad to have a heavy tripod with me.

The next photo was taken from the park at the top of Gilgal. If I’d managed to wake up a little earlier, the sky wouldn’t have been quite so blown out. Some day…..


Jerusalem and Mount of Olives, taken from the same security road at the end of Katros.

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Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 8, 2015


On vacation in Rome. What an amazing city! 

We’ve rented a flat in the Jewish ghetto, very central and convenient. On our first day we had a tour of the Colosseum underground and the Forum where I photographed the Arch of Titus.

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Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 20, 2015

I was trying to turn the reflection into twin sun flares. I liked this shot because the seated woman shows the scale of the sculpture. She appears to be contemplating the reflections but she’s actually watching over a toddler playing on the other side of the sculpture.

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A Dear Friend’s Loss

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 10, 2014


I don’t know how many of you know Pam Harris, who has been like a mother to so many craft bloggers around the world. She was tireless in her encouragement and support of novice bloggers. She was my first photography mentor and gave me so much advice and encouragement over the years.

Her dear husband of 25 years, Kirby Harris, died suddenly of a heart attack. Kirby was a very special guy, a great photographer with a wonderful sense of humour. Sadly, he had no life insurance, so Pam has been left with a lot of expenses. Her daughter Diane (of CraftyPod) has set up a fund to help defray costs. So if you knew Pam and have lost touch with her, I’m sure she’d appreciate a note or a donation.

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Ten Things You May Not Know about Whooping Cough

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 23, 2014

I’ve learned some interesting things about whooping cough (pertussis):

1.   Childhood immunization does not continue into adulthood.

So now you folks can stop asking me, “Weren’t you immunized as a child?” A CDC study suggests that immunity only lasts for 3-6 years. Adults can get the Tdap (pertussis and tetanus) vaccine.

2.   Pertussis is highly contagious.

When an infected person coughs, tiny bacteria-carrying droplets are sprayed into the air and inhaled by people nearby. Mom was right: cover your mouth when you cough.

3.   The contagious state is estimated to be 3 weeks from infection by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria (although that is difficult to pinpoint because pertussis can be preceded by a respiratory infection and has an incubation period of 7-10 days) or 5 days after start of antibiotic treatment.

4.   Antibiotics do not shorten the duration of the illness, unless administered very early, but they do stop its spread.

If you are infected, it’s a good idea for other family members to receive prophylactic antibiotics.

5.   Over-the-counter medications aren’t very effective.

I found thyme tea to be helpful in suppressing the cough and expectorants, for getting rid of the, er, gunk. Antihistamines, codeine, and commercial cough remedies did not help me.

6.   Pertussis declined in the US in the 1940s, when the vaccine was introduced, but has been increasing since the ’80s (reasons unknown).

7.   Pertussis is also called  the 100-day cough. It can stop after three weeks but it can last for months.

8.   Pertussis is very difficult to diagnose.

During the initial catarrhal stage, it is often mistaken for cold, bronchitis, flu, allergies, and asthma. The second stage, paroxysmal coughing, is when the characteristic “whoop” (gasp for breath between coughs) may appear in 50% of adults who are infected. Pertussis is very difficult to culture in a lab, so the most common test is a seriological test for pertussis antibodies, which isn’t very accurate (only shows that you were exposed).

9.   Severe coughing can cause broken ribs, disrupted sleep, abdominal pain, fainting, vomiting, and incontinence.

No joke. You may think thyme tea sounds disgusting but if you have ever had a night disrupted by several bouts of coughing and gasping, you’d be willing to swallow anything just to get a good night’s sleep.

10.  Pregnant women are advised to get the Tdap vaccine to protect their infants.

The vaccine is safe during pregnancy. On the other hand, pertussis can be fatal to infants and many of the babies who contract pertussis were too young to vaccinate. So this piece of advice seems sound and is on the CDC site below.

For more information:

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013: Blue Trail

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 5, 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

This is exactly what it looks: a rainbow made of neon tubes. “Rainbow Above,” by Eran Klein and Eli Cochavi, is one of those pieces that was more successful as a concept. The installation was so close to the buildings that it was nearly impossible to photograph without having awnings and other lights in the picture.

Illusion of Transparency,” by Yael Schiffman, was a kaleidoscope projected into the tunnel of the Closed Cardo.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Philipp Artus’s “Snail Trail” was underwhelming, about as exciting as watching a cardiogram.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

There was absolutely nothing at the Muristan. Pity.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

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2012 in review

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 31, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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