(for part one click here)
Well… yeah, I have a hobby! As a matter of fact, I have several hobbies.
I am an amateur photographer. I have a handicam, and I videotape almost anything and everything. The handicam is an extension of my arm… I have been doing that for quite a few years, but never had the time to arrange my photos and videos in a proper manner. Since the images and videos literally fill up my computers’ hard disk, I began to use mobile disks. It is now time to make some order in the many videos. They are at present organized in many folders.
The last year I have been birdwatching, and this is great fun; Most interesting. I focus on the birds in my immediate surroundings. Ten kinds of birds regularly visit, or live in the yard. Since taking long walks is difficult for me, I do my observations in the yard, or through the windows. You’ll be surprised what you can get on tape. I have an ant colony moving to a new nest carrying the eggs. I have videos of bulbul, Eurasian blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) and Palestine sunbirds feeding its young, and a dove encouraging her fledge to start flying. I intend to begin a birdwatching diary, so that I can document the sounds of the birds, their habits, and especially, the manner in which they share the yard. One example is a cypress tree, which several males like to sit on its top and make their calls. They take turns during the day: a sunbird, a bulbul, a crow and a greenfinch.
My goal is to document their behavior, as well as to create a database of sounds as well as audiovisual database, and put them on the net for all to see.
To manage my database, and tag my pictures/videos with multiple tags, without duplicating them on the disk (space!), I am planning to write an image/video software organizer. I was in my past a professional programmer, and through the years of teaching I was always creating small projects in C++ and in C# to keep in shape… So it is time to get back to business. I have been contemplating writing applications for android but that means learning java or other protocols, and I am not sure if I want that. However, in six months… things may be different. I have a few ideas for startups, such as… (in your dreams. I am going to patent them and become a millionaire). I love programming. It is an occupational therapy of sorts for me.
Small time occupations are: cooking – we are still trying to find the golden path between my husband’s lack of appetite, and my very amateur cooking abilities… ; gardening – watering the plants, and hopefully, growing some vegetables and spices like onions, dill, parsley, mint and garlic.
Did I mention reading?
From my mother, I took a few hundred books, fiction and non-fiction alike. Albeit some of her interests do not appeal to me, others do. These were added to my own few hundred books. I need some time to put the books in order, to decide which books I definitely don’t want and give them away. Then to put the rest on bookshelves, which I don’t have, and begin reading. The most obvious place is the store room/ garage which desperately needs renovation, cleaning and… a floor. Well, you know; tiles, and all that. It is just a cement floor, not — for almost 30 years…. So, when the rainy season passes I intend to clear the storage room, clean it up and remodel it as a multipurpose room – one of which is to hold my books.
I also love to listen to music. This needs special attention. So do all my CDs and DVDs (all purchased) to be reexamined and perhaps sorted on some other media.
When I was a child my father was in the military, and was stationed twice in Africa as part of an task force that assisted in creating a local unit modelled after the Israeli נח”ל (phonetically : Nakhal, No’ar Khalutzi Lokhem, translated as: Combative Pioneer Youths). We lived in Daar Es Salaam, Tanzania for about a year and a half during 1964-1965,and then in Lusaka ,Zambia for about a year during 1966-1967. In Tanzania we went on a week-long safari, at which time my father took many picture that were developed as slides. Recently, when my mother was forced to move to a nursing home, I found my father’s (many) slides, along with his slide projector, which is still working (no less than I expected, btw…). I am waiting for a moment of peace to have a slide show of the safari and many other events, and be reminded of childhood adventures..
What about intellectual projects?
I mean reading and listening to music is great, but it is passive. Some of that as a young woman I did some painting and drawing , in my teens and as far as my late twenties. Then life happened, and it was one of the first things to go. I am not god’s gift to art, but I think I will enjoy returning to that. It is creative, it’s special personal time. My father did some painting as a young man and kind of gave it up later, for whatever reason, then in his old age, returned to it after a stroke. Me, I am not so talented, but I believe I shall enjoy it anyway. My father left some paints, brushes and canvases. My mother bought for him materials to create small mosaics. Maybe I will do at some point in time.
However, I do not want to become senile any time soon. Therefore, active intellectual projects must be in work. At this time, I am still working on my Master’s thesis. It has taken far too long, partly because my supervisor is super-pedant. She is a great supervisor. If I had one like her when I began to my Master’s degree in computer science in the 1980s, I would have been gone on to my doctorate… however, my supervisor then was indifferent and unhelpful, and I was clueless. Hopefully, in a few weeks I will be handing it in and be done with it.
When I was 50 years old, in 2004, I began to study Japanese with a private teacher. Did that, because I was always interested in Japan and I had also trained in Karate for a decade or so (between 1990-2000). My teacher found a real job and couldn’t continue, so… U decided to go all the way, and began to study in the Haifa University. I completed Asian Studies for the bachelor’s degree (in five semesters) and proceeded to the Master’s degree, in 2009-2010 completing all courses and seminars with an average grade of 90. All that, while working full-time plus as a high school teacher. So, not bad I think. In 2011, I began my thesis, but a lot happened at work and at home (see part one). Bottom line, I had to quit my studies when I realized I couldn’t keep up with the deadlines. After three years of recess, I went back to it, and very fortunately, my supervisor agreed to continue (she is a very busy person, currently heading the Asian studies department). So, now she has my last draft, and please-please God… make her say that it’s the greatest composition in the Universe… or at least, that it is satisfactory enough to be submitted.
I have found that I need full concentration for the academic feat. When it is over, It is very possible that I will take online courses with a serious academic institution such as those offered by MIT-Harvard. Started one once, but had too much to cope with. I am thinking linguistics, so that I can understand a little more about the field my Dr. Daughter is occupied with; and an android programming course. Maybe, a little about verification of software, so that I can follow on my Dr. Son’s work. Just a little.
After completing my thesis, my next academic assignment is the family books. I have been researching my family roots for a while. Luckily, two people did a lot of work in that area: my mother prepared family books for both her mother’s and her father’s families. My first assignment is to investigate her father’s death in 1946 (before I was born, hence not ‘grandfather’). He died in the explosion of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the details of which are under controversy to this day.
Then, there is my father’s family, the Sternheims and the Baums. For my second assignment, I will use a research done by a gentleman by the name of Adolf Bartram. For his own reasons, he researched the Sternheim family sources and whereabouts. He researched and discovered over a thousand, going back to one ancestor in 1700s and down some 8 generations. My assignment is to discover more details on my branch of the tribe, starting with my great-grandfather. Beyond discovering what happened to those who died in the holocaust, I am interested in learn how they lived: their occupations, their education, their religious approach.
Possibly, if I manage that and survive, I would like to write a fictional book based on the findings, a kind of a novel, to depict their lives.
So what will I do all day as a pensioner?
If only I have the strength and live long enough to do all of the above…
God. I need a plan!
(for part one click here)