Moddy's Life

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New Zealand revisited

Posted by moddyfire on January 23, 2010

We spent the last month in New Zealand, in the world rainbow gathering.

There was the usual stress of deciding when to go, buying plane tickets, worries about getting from the airport to the gathering and back (as hitch-hiking with a child is not much fun), packing,  and being afraid of the cold – in Uki it was unbearably hot most of the month before that. Ela had wanted to travel in New Zealand a little, and I didn’t – I was there 11 years ago and have seen almost everything – but the crucial factor was that Ela wanted to go to a midwifery workshop in Adelaide. Thus we decided to cut our journey a bit and to book  a flight directly from New Zealand to Adelaide. The day after, Ela got a letter saying the workshop is full and she can’t get in.

So we left our house with a sitter and he dropped us at the airport. There we waited for our flight to Sydney, until hearing that our flight is being delayed, and delayed again, and then that all travellers who go to Christchurch or Auckland should collect their bags and go to the help desk. Just like last time. The deal was that they take us by bus to Brisbane, and we join another flight which arrives to ChCh just half an hour later than we should have. So we did arrive at 1 am to the freezing cold Christchurch, took a rented car, and drove to a rainbow meeting point – a house that belongs to a sister who let hippies stay there while waiting.

There were of course hippies lying, sleeping and snoring everywhere, but they had left us a big mattress in the middle, and we managed to sleep a little. Some of them were old friends. In the morning we wondered where to go. A few days earlier the rainbow site in the west coast was flooded, leaving some of the seed-campers on an island in a middle of a swamp, and they had to be rescued by helicopter. They immediately started to search of a new site, and on the day we arrived there wasn’t yet a final decision on the location. So we waited another day, resting and visiting the museum and the botanical gardens.

That was very exciting to me – I was amazed to see how much I remember New Zealand; the rose garden which I had spent the afternoon with Marianne 11 years before; the paua-shell house which I had visited in Bluff and was moved to the museum; the paua-shell jewellery in the museum shop (I bought there a pin for my friend); the little biscuits that I was buying all the time; the funny accent and the unbelievable nicety of the Kiwis. I am still shocked by how nice they are and during my whole travels there, this time and in the previous century, no-one was ever less than friendly.

The next day we drove to the site, only three hours away. It was a lovely day – not too hot, yet not raining – and we walked with our bags and kid through a typical New Zealand beech forest to the awesome site. There where a few meadows, each on a different hill, and in the middle a criss-cross of streams that turned into a knee-deep bog when it rained. As soon as we walked it, Sequoia started to skip and jump joyfully, crying “I’m home!”.

Since the site was found too late, there was no much time for seed camp work. There were a few hundred people around before the kitchen was fully built, most of them first-timer who didn’t know they are supposed to share the work. Also, the scouts of the last camp were tired now. The result was quite unfocused gathering, with many people not knowing what rainbow is all about.

My first two weeks ware awesome, even my drive to ChCh to return the car. I did a lot of work; hugged and welcomed everyone; talked and told jokes and stories; made connections; and generally felt confident and happy: I’m so cool. Sequoia’s behaviour was very helping: she woke up in the morning, we gave her a snack, and then she wandered off to play with her friends. We didn’t really see her most of the day, and even in circle she often sat with her friends or some random rainbow people who took her fancy. She worked in the kitchen, participated in talking circles – she announced that she wanted to burn marshmallows on the main fire, like she had done in numerous gathering before – and one day as Ela met her on the path she said “I was stung by a wasp, so I went to the medical centre and they gave me some leaf to chew. It was yucky, but then they gave me some lolly to take the taste away and now I’m much better. Now go off mum. I’m busy.”

Then I got tired of being out-going, had a stupid fight with Ela, and someone told me I’m too frisky – and not in a good way.  I also got overwhelmed by the amount of new people that I can’t remember their names anymore, by the cigarette buts everywhere, by the flashing cameras everywhere, by people not participating and waiting for others to do it for them, by laser show in the main fire, and by seeing that I became an elder: I have been to more gatherings than most, I am older than most, I know everything about rainbow, and I look at the youngsters saying “When I first went, it was much better. Rainbow is going down. The elders are not respected. Maybe I shouldn’t come anymore.”

After new-years-day it also became colder and more raining. A few days before we left, the bog became almost impassable and half the gathering couldn’t come to the food circle. Luckily we had no rain for a day, and we thus managed to leave when we needed to. We got a ride all the way to the airport, and flew to the open arms of my friends Simon and Julia. They live an hour drive out of Adelaide, and were perfect hosts – they lent us their car to go to town, gave us the best room in the house, and their eldest daughter hooked up so well with Sequoia that we didn’t need to pay them so much attention. We spent the days visiting friends, family and sites.

And then we finally got home. It is unbearably hot We all promptly got sick – all the stress of travelling was finally allowed to come out – now we are recovering, waiting for energy to do all the things we need to do. We don’t expect any more travels until September!

Love, Moddy.

I wrote this circling song in the gathering:

There’s a light in the depth of the forest

Calling us home, calling us home.

There’s a sound in the depth of the ocean

Calling us home, calling us home.

The way of our fathers and mothers

Is calling us home, calling us home.

The love of our sisters and brothers

Is calling us home, calling us home.


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Home, away, and in between

Posted by moddyfire on November 12, 2009

As I had said before, I took Sequoia to Israel for three weeks. She was very excited about going and playing with her cousins, counting the days for the great event. She was willing to spend some time without her mother and enduring the long flight: four connections with a night in Bangkok (she was excited about that, too, as she misses the ice tea that is served by our usual guest-house.)   Nothing prepared me to what really happened.

Ela dropped us at the airport. We said goodbye, passed security and waited for the plane to come and take us to Sydney. When it arrived, we waited in the line and were promptly told to sit down, as there is some technical problem which will be fixed sooner or later, and if it doesn’t they’ll put us on the a flight that leaves in 3 hours. We initially planned 3 and a half hours – enough to get from domestic terminal to the international and check in, leaving time for a delay of about an hour in the flight, two if  stressed, but certainly not three.

I asked to be moved to the next flight, which leaves in two hours, but they said it was full, and they are basically not responsible since it is not a connecting flight. Therefore, I had to call the travel agent to see what he she can do. The main problem was that they had just rebuilt the terminal and somehow forgot to put public phones in there. I searched everywhere while Sequoia was looking after the bags, and eventually found one outside the terminal. I called Ela, asking her to call the travel agent, and came back to Sequoia, who was pretty upset she had to wait for so long, and we waited. I expected that either the problem would be fixed, or my name would be called.

Two hours later nothing happened: our craft’s engine was open with several people working on it, and the next plane started boarding. I realized I won’t fly today, took Sequoia and went out to call Ela. She was somehow very stressed, “Your plane is leaving now. The travel agent arranged everything for you to be on the plane”. I took Sequoia and ran, passing through security with shouts and pleading that I’m missing my flight, and ran to check-in, which almost closed. They had no idea that I was supposed to be on that plane, so we out to the public phone to call Ela again.  She said I wasn’t moved to another flight, but my own plane is leaving. We ran in again to check this out, now a bit more embarrassed to tell security that we are missing our flight. Still, no flight.

I left Sequoia now with the bags, and went out to call Ela for the fourth time. She gave me the number of the travel agent and said she’ll do it, but since there is no way to call me back, I’d better call the agent myself. So I did. They put me on hold, disconnected, put me on hold again, and then the phone stopped working. I went to JetStar counter, begging them to let me use their phone – they did, but after holding for 20 minutes, they needed the phone back. I came back to Sequoia,  and realized that my laptop was missing. My stress sky-rocketed.

I retraced my steps, and figured out I forgot it in one the security screening. I was right – and since that was the first good thing that happened since the whole thing started, I figured my luck changes. I bought Sequoia a pizza, and went to look for a way to contact Ela. I found another public phone, called her and she told me my flight to Bangkok was hopefully delayed for the next day (“hopefully”, since it was a public holiday and we couldn’t get final confirmation about it), so I need to take this flight and JetStar will arrange a hotel for me in Sydney, or maybe take it tomorrow. I’d have to ask them.  By this time the plane was fixed and boarding started, and I had to make a quick decision – do I get on it, or take my luggage off it? JetStar people have decided for me, and I called Ela to take me home.

The next day we planned better: I took our other cell-phone, and Ela waited with us until boarding started. And then they said they have some technical problems and we should all sit down.

Oh my God.

But this lasted only a few minutes, and we flew away.  Thirty hours later we  got to my parents’  house. Exhausted.

We stayed for three weeks. Sequoia played a lot with her cousins, practiced her Hebrew, met some of her old friends, went with her grandmother to the zoo, and missed her mum. I went to work every, driving an hour each way, and feeling quite depressed by the news on the radio. It seems that Israel got worse while I was away and not looking. Israel sinks into its post-traumatic-stress-disorder of “everyone hated the Jews anyway, so it doesn’t matter what we do”. Opinions that were heard before only from the ultra right-wing , are now the main-stream. The left is shattered; the forces of light are weak and almost unheard in the media. It made me sad – I am losing hope for the future of Israel. Good that I’m getting an Australian citizenship.

We arrived back ten days ago. I’m still jet-lagged and need to deal with house problems: we have been trying to put bamboo flooring in the house, but after a lot of work found the current floor is too uneven. We were recommended to use a self-levelling compound, which is a kind of cement that is supposed to be flatten itself when you pour it.  Ela tried to do it while I was away, but it didn’t work as promised, so now we have some cement stuck in the middle of the room. I brought a builder for advice, and he said that the distance between the beams that hold the house is too big, and we need to jack the house up and put more beams. Also, the roof is leaking.

We bought plane tickets to the gathering in N.Z. – the final decision on dates was that Ela wanted to go to a midwifery workshop, and meanwhile we can visit our friends Julia and Simon whom we haven’t seen in ages. The day after we bought the tickets Ela was told the workshop is booked out.

Ela and Sequoia went to a homeschoolers camp for a few days. I’m home alone, trying to utilize my time as well as possible, so I made granola (and burned it while writing this message.)

Love, Moddy.

Today is a good day for a bike ride in the neighbourhood.

Granola recipe:

3 cups oats (not instant)

1 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use almonds and sunflower seeds)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 cup chopped dried fruit.

50gr melted butter

3 tbsp honey

2 tbsp (or a big dash) of apple-cider vinegar

a little salt, cinnamon, cloves and other spices you may like

Heat oven to 150C.

Put parchment paper on a tray, and cook the oats and nuts for ~5 minutes, while preparing the rest of the ingredients and mixing in a bowl.

Take the tray out, mix in the outs and nuts, and put back the whole lot on the parchment paper on the tray in the oven.

Bake for about 30min, mixing once in the middle.

After you make it once, you can adjust the amounts (especially of honey and butter) to your taste.

Posted in Life | 1 Comment »

Yet another year passed by

Posted by moddyfire on September 17, 2009

I could say that life got into some routine: I work, play, eat and sleep, not necessarily in that order; we visit friends and have short walks to the village; Sequoia is getting better in riding her bike; Ela studies a lot. Basically, nothing happens. I like it, however. Relaxing, and makes me feel less like a hippy.

The garden is growing: I water it now every day, since it hasn’t rained in two months, except for a few drops here and there. We planted a lemon myrtle and raspberry and some flowers, and the lemon tree is finally catching up. We think of more renovations: replacing the floors; building a deck; insulating. I make bread once a week, and nice puddings even more. The puddings got us local fame, and guests expect something amazing in the end. I find it to be cheating – it is stupidly simple.

My knee feels better. Not totally healed, but the main pain is gone. I went to some bike rides and I feel good about it. I also play the flute a lot, though there is not much improvement, and I try not to be too frustrated about it. I also went to a local life drawing class – actually Ela went, and after she came home with beautiful pictures I wanted to try it too.  The class is indeed very local. The teacher is one of our friends, and the models are the students, who take turn doing so. This week we went down to the local stream; the model set on a rock in the middle and I tried to make something… I still feel hopeless, but the teacher is encouraging. The only problem is that since we don’t have a babysitter, so we can’t both go. We’ll figure something out, I hope.

We also got into some politcal activity. Ela went for a few days to Canberra to demonstrate against a new federal law which would basically outlaw home births – she drove all the way in our van with a two-year-old kid and his pregnant mother (who is also the drawing-class teacher).  You can read of her adventures here.

While she was away, we went to another demonstration -not that we intended to, but we went for a bike ride and found many people in the village protesting against the Repco Rally which had just finished. The Rally was much opposed in our area, but the city people liked it – well, it didn’t pass through their houses! – and all environmental groups are stronlgy against it. The Rally passed through protected zones, 300km/h cars throwing gravel that kills all animals around (including a few endangered species.) Anyway, the protest didn’t work, but since they plan one every couple of years, we still protested.

It was very simple: we stood next to the road, waiting for the cars to pass on their to the trophy ceremony and holding flags and banners. There were loads of police, stopping us from standing on the road and from crossing the street. At one stage Sequoia was on the other side of the road, and I thought I heard her crying. I ran to the pedestrian crossing, and tried to cross. Police held me; I shouted at them that my baby is crying, but they wouldn’t let me pass. I was so pissed off.

In the middle of all this I had my birthday. Not a big celebration – just a few friends came over and we went dancing in the hall. I’m beginning my fourtieth year, and I have no idea how I got so far.

In a few weeks I take Sequoia to Israel for three weeks. The longest time she ever spent without her mama. I’m really looking forward to it. In December we go to the world rainbow gathering in New Zealand – we are not sure when exactly we go, since Ela wants to travel a little there, but I, as you see, like to be at home and enjoy Uki life.

Love, Moddy.


60gr butter, melted. (we melt in the oven while we prepare the other ingredients and the oven heats up )

1 cup self-raising flour (we use regular flour – organic wholemeal  – with baking powder. Spelt flour works, too)

1/2 -3/4 cup sugar (some times I soak dates and chop them, instead, so I get sugar-free pudding)

a pinch of salt; a dash of vanilla.

flavouring:  e.g. two tbsp of cacao powder, or shreded coconut; or chopped fruit, or whatever.

1/2 cup milk (a used orange juice once)

— all this mix together.

Now: sprinkle 2 tbsp on sugar on top, and some more flavourings (coffee, cacao, nuts, …)

And pour one cup of boiling water on top.

Put in the oven 180 for 30-40 min. It should be quite moist in the end.

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Rainbow once more

Posted by moddyfire on July 23, 2009

A few days ago we returned from three weeks of travel to northern Queensland, most of which we spent at the Rainbow Gathering in Walsh River.

Our little car survived the 1900km journey. Just before we went I registered it, did road-worthy test, serviced and attempted to fix the rain leaking.  It didn’t work so well – the panel beater worked on it for a few hours, welded more and more holes, but eventually gave up, saying there are a few more holes he can’t reach, so let’s just “hope for the best”. I still do.

We decided to take our small car and not the van since it uses way less petrol, and thus is better for the environment as well as for our back account. Also the seats are more comfortable, and Sequoia sits safely at the back sit. The plan was to sleep in cheap motels or caravan parks on the way. Big mistake. Motels and caraven parks were:  not as cheap as we had expected; not as common as we had expected; much fuller (“no vacancy”) than we had expected, and generally are closed after dark – meaning that if we drive until later (7 pm) there is nobody to talk to in the more remote and rough places.

So at around 11pm in our first driving day we began to look for a place to stay, and eventually found one after midnight, and paid way more than we wanted for a few hours sleep. In the next day we camped in a national park, but we had to stop before dark so we can put the tent up. Early the next morning we arrived to the gathering.

It was set on a beautiful river, abundent in pools, waterfalls, natural bridges and rapids; most people spent most days mostly in it. The weather was cold at night, hot in the day time, and painfully dry, though we did enjoy the lack of rain since our tent has some problems. There were about 70 people there.

We had lots of fun. I played my flute a lot (and got much better);  helped building  two rocket stoves and fixed  the oven (which was built 4 years ago for a previous gathering and survived! amazing!); did a massage workshop and swam a lot. Sequoia found friends to play with so Ela and I had more free time than we usually have in gatherings. We met a lot of old friends and made a lot of new friends. I also learned to remember my dreams – the technique is painfully simple: all you need to do is say to yourself as you fall asleep “I’m going to remember my dream”.

After a week things turned worse: The full-moon night was approaching with its accompanied problems: high energy that affects people in a weird way; a fast population growth (we trippled in two days), largely of newcomers who came from a nearby Raggae festival and had no idea what they are expected to do. As I often take it upon myself to welcome new arrivals and introduce them to the facts of life, I was overwhelmed by the influx, and eventually gave up. On one encounter I shouted at a guy who brought his dog to swim in our drinking water collection (he later acted quite psychotically and kicked someone in the head.)  Sequoia cut her foot badly and needed to be carried around while her so-called friends wouldn’t wait for her and generally left her bored and miserable. Ela was also cranky, and my flute broke. This was the last straw on my sanity, since I couldn’t play anymore and had no apparent reason to hang out anywhere – everywhere I went I felt unwelcome and unwanted. And of course a mouth-ulcer started.

Those were rough couple of days, but then came full moon night itself in which I went out, tried to dance, and eventually was offered to play some fire poys. This was exciting enough to get me a little out of my bad mood. Then the  numbers went down to an amount I could handle (i.e. remember most people’s names), and I felt confident again. A sister managed to fix my flute (temporarily, as it re-broke a couple of days later) and another let me borrow hers. So things were much better and we were having fun again until the end of the gathering.

We left a day earlier than we had planned in order to take longer time on our way back, and also because the gathering was practically over. We stopped each night at 7, hoping that good night sleep will make the journey easier. Big Mistake. Turns out it doesn’t make any difference if you are driving until 7 or until midnight: you are tired anyway, but it takes a day more. We did manage to visit our friends Sue and Andy and their kids in the last day, and arrived home tired after four days.

Almost a week passed since then. Today (Thursday) I had my long-awaited knee operation, so now I have a big bandage and am supposed to take care … I hope this will be the end of my pain.

Love, Moddy.

Today is a great day to learn from your mistakes.

An encounter with one of the rainbow kids inspired the following poem:

A toddler walked upon a rock, and suddenly she fell

I came to see, I kissed her knee, I asked if she is well

She shook her head and showed the wound. Her pain was deep and clear.

But she didn’t make a single sound; she didn’t shed a tear.

Well, I’ve seen a shark beneath the surf, and bombers in the sky

But nothing scared me half as much as a kid who wouldn’t cry.

When the stranger took her from the corner of the bar

When he held her arm and neck and shoved her in his car

When he hovered over her, stinking lust and beer

She wouldn’t fight; she wouldn’t scream; she wouldn’t shed a tear.

I’ve hitched through the forbidden zone and looked a tiger in the eye

But nothing scared me half as much as a kid who wouldn’t cry.

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Finally, feeling at home

Posted by moddyfire on June 14, 2009

Hi all,

As I wrote in my last letter,  we moved to our new house on New Year’s Day. Since then, we’ve been spending most of our time fixing it and making it our home. It is not as easy as it sounds, and I don’t even know if it sounds easy. Moreover, we have so many distractions,  such as going away, being sick, or buying a new car  (the last one, as you might recall, we almost drove over a cliff; we now own a red Ford Laser  called “Rosita” which I like very much while Ela isn’t excited.)

We went for two weeks to a rainbow gathering in Tasmania. After three days, when we just settled down, the organizers told us that the gathering ends in a few days, a fact that they had somehow failed to convey before. Thus we ended up renting a car and traveling around Tassie. I wasn’t too excited: I have been told that Tasmania is just like New Zealand, but I found it pretty dull comparingly. We had a nice time though, managed to see most of the Island and visit our friends Nemo and Melodie in Hobart.

After that we were at home for only a short time, and then Ela and Sequoia went to catch a baby in Phuket while I went to Israel for a few weeks. As usual, it was great to be in Israel and catch-up with friends and relatives: My niece’s Bat-Mitzvah! Amir is pregnant! Dekel is pregnant! Guy moved in with Ella! (and other exciting stuff.) Coming home, i suffered from awful jet-lag and didn’t function well for more than a week; then Ela and Sequoia came back, and we threw a party for Ela’s 30th birthday: we had a great fun, though the party was way smaller then we had expected. However, Ela’s sister and ex-wife both flew-in and stayed with us for a while, and we enjoyed having them and other visitors; specifically having a big house where we can actually host a party and guests. Meanwhile Ela got a nasty cough which rendered her sub-functioning for more than a month: she even broke a rib from coughing!  She feels better now after being treated by a Chinese Doctor whose partner is Ela’s next client (due in October.)

So we had little time to have the necessary house maintenace. We renovated the bathroom; we installed solar hot-water system; we bought furniture and a fridge and other things we never had room for in the old shack. Our main worries are mould and termites: the house is damp to the point that if I leave salt out it turns to pool of water. The reasons for the dampness are not certain: we have sea-grass mats that are constantly growing mould, so I threw some of it away to see if it helps. We have trees that shade the house, so we are still looking for a tree-lopper to cut them. We have a lot of rain (understatement. We had 195mm in one day a couple of weeks ago!) and it goes under the house, so I dug a trench to move the water elsewhere, but I’m not sure it is working. We also fight the mould with bleach and vinegar, with some success. We are also very cold inside the house: there is constant draft coming from some hole  we cannot locate, and our fireplace doesn’t manage to warm uo the house in the cold nights.

Besides all that, we simply love this place. We have a big house which is not leaking, surrounded by forest and beautiful birds,  but yet only five minutes walk from the village, 12 minutes drive to town (or 20 if we hitch-hike), and the city is only 20 minutes more. We made friends with a lot of our neighbours, and everytime we walk to the post office we stop for a chat; some of them have kids and so Sequoia has friends a short walking distance. Once a week there is a small market, and once a month a bigger market and also a dance party. We (well, Ela) organized a small home-schoolers group which we hope to make bigger,  and we are still close enough to our  old home-schoolers group in Mullumbimby so we go there every week. We feel we are part of a community and not isolated anymore.

Ela started  studying an advanced midwifery course so she spends (or tries to spend) most of her day with her books and notes. I’m very proud of her. I work and Sequoia is playing, watching videos, dancing and singing: same as before, but now she has much more room to do it. She grew a little, but is still very small for her age.

Plans: in two weeks we go to north Queensland for a rainbow gathering, which is 2000km drive each way. In October Sequoia and I come to Israel for a visit. It will be the most time she ever spent  without Ela, but I guess she won’t have time to miss her with all the excitement of seeing her grandparents and cousins.

Love, Moddy.

Today is a good day to plant snapdragons.

Posted in Life | 1 Comment »

Test #1

Posted by moddyfire on May 21, 2009

This test is meant so we will have something really long to see how it works.

start with th poem:

The truth is shining

Like a diamond, hard and cold

Like a girl’s best friend

Like a poet’s mind

Do you wear it on your finger?

Wait till we grow older

Till it rings clearly

Till we are murky

Reminds you how we used to be.

Do you wear it in your ear?

Piercing through your brow or

Nipple or naval.

Pain makes you happy.

Now you look pretty.

Thank her for the gift.



Do you wear it on your head?

Beaming to your third eye

Splitting aura to ingredients.

Cleansing thoughts of all lies

As our minds open.

You are beautiful.

Do you wear it on your foot?

Dragging it heavily. It pulls you down

Lower to the ground

Where we picked it up

Sifted through mud

Removed all impurities


Or was it a piece of broken glass.

The truth is hiding

Like a diamond. Silently waiting

to be picked

and to shine.


add a picture:


trying, anyway.

love, Moddy.

Posted in Life | 4 Comments »