Studying hard, making plans

At the end of this semester, I’ll have one more official course and three teach thyself languages still to conquer, before being qualified for a front end dev job. I keep checking on the tech listings every week coming out of Israel and so have a pulse on the minimums needed to score a decent job. At the end of this semester I’ll have core JavaScript, PHP, Python and MySQL down (and fluency in HTML and CSS goes without saying). I’ll have JSON, AJAX, XML, and XSLT under my belt with a fingernail’s grasp and need to work with them more. Next semester should see the official Photoshop course (and the certificate for front-end dev) completed. I’ve got to add a really good grasp of Node.js, JQuery, and Ruby on Rails to my arsenal. I need to put together a portfolio showing off all these skills. Then, hopefully, I’ll be ready for bear.

On the garden front: The weather here is only just starting to turn chilly and I’ve got to steel my backbone to pull out the okra. It is still producing, though the productivity has really fallen off and, rather than 24hours from flower to table, it is more like 3 days. Someone came along and stole approximately 30 of our eggplants (and a few cucumbers and tomatoes) in two ‘sweeps’ a couple of weeks apart. They did leave us one of those “decorative” wooden eggplants in their place. Ummm, yeah, thanks but no thanks. I’ve got 9 cabbages in the ground and 7 cabbage seedlings nearly ready for transplant. The cabbage and lettuce seeds I’d planted two weeks ago were killed in the flood we had, but I’ve got more started.

I’ll update on the cats soon.

Losing Mischa

Yes, it has been a really long while since I’ve updated. I’ve both been busy and felt very boring as I’ve just been steeped in trying to get my head around coding in various languages. I promise an update, but first…Mischa.

On Friday, I lost Mischa, my chat mechant. I had him for nearly 17 wonderful years and literally traveled the world with him. As a tiny kitten, he came with me to Germany every summer. He drove with me cross-country in the U.S. (twice!) traveling from coast to coast. In fact, Mischa visited every State in the U.S. except for Hawaii, Alaska, and North Dakota. He got to visit (ok, airports and hotel rooms) in Paris, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He was a kitty oleh for 10 years and his ashes will be buried next to his dearest friend Pandy back home in Israel. He had a really good and loved life right up to his very last day.

Thursday last, I noticed in the morning that he didn’t eat much of his wet food. He went from plate to plate, nibbling only a little bit here and there. That was not like Mischa — he has always been a maniac over wet food and I always gave him double what the other kitties get. I noted it but it didn’t set off any sort of alarm bells –sometimes cats just don’t eat with gusto. We had to take Batya in to the vet to have a glucose curve done on her (she has been diagnosed as diabetic and I needed to see how the dosage of her twice-daily insulin shots are handling it) and after I dropped Batya off I had a host of errands to run. I picked Batya back up in the late afternoon on the flip side of my errands and came home and knew immediately that there was something wrong. Mischa seemed confused, he kept laying down in places he doesn’t usually lay, going to the water bowls but not drinking…fifteen minutes after I got back, I was on the phone with the vet clinic making an appointment for him for the next morning. Four hours later, after he again didn’t eat and just seemed absolutely not himself, we took him to the emergency clinic.

They gave him fluids and were concerned that he was anemic but, otherwise his vital signs were good and he was “in great shape for a cat this age”. Since I had the appointment for early in the morning, they didn’t do bloodwork but did give him some anti-nausea medication. I brought him home and he both ate and drank normally but I really thought, as did the vet at the EC, that he might be having problems with his kidneys. At the vet the next morning, she also thought he might be experiencing, potentially life-ending, kidney failure. They ran bloodwork and some other tests and when she came back in I nearly collapsed with relief at her news. She said, “his vitals are fine, his kidneys are fine.” Then her face nearly collapsed when we exclaimed with relief and she had to say, “but the news is not good.”

Mischa had aggressive lymphoma and they could give him meds to keep him comfortable for a couple of days only. He could live in discomfort and pain for weeks, maybe even a couple of months, with medication. I was not about to go there. We talked about all the options and the only one that made any sense was to let him go, to not prolong and not subject him to pain and discomfort just to prolong his life for my selfish needs of not wanting to lose him –not today, not…

He went to sleep in my arms, loved, purring at being petted where he best loved having pet, and he lived his last day as he’d lived all the others since I rescued him at 3 weeks of age — loved, comforted, comforting, vibrant, happy and King of the Cats.

shana tova v’metuka

Wishing everyone a sweet and joyous New Year.

Labour day update

I’ve been so busy of late that I haven’t had time to spit. It is all good, however. Classes started a couple of weeks ago and the advanced web programming class is very intensive. I’m also doing courses on databases (MYSQL), PHP, and photoshop. After the first assignment for the web prog. class last week, all of the students that were in the beginning programming class I took in the spring dropped this course. For the second assignment due last night, I literally worked on it from sun-up to sundown and beyond starting last Thursday.

The garden is doing great and a few weeks ago we broke even with it. We’d invested nearly $500 in it, the cost mostly going toward having those two big garden boxes (and trellis) built and buying the dirt to put in them — it took an insane amount of dirt to fill them. Now we are into the black and, from here on out, everything we harvest is profit — literally like money in the bank.

We’ve got about 30 eggplants (aubergines, chatzilim) ripening currently, the cherry tomatoes are really starting to set fruit (right now we’re just getting less than a handful of ripe ones a week), one vine of cucumbers is pretty much giving us a cucumber a day and there are six more vines, planted much later, that are nearly ready to start bearing fruit.

We’re getting almost (but not yet quite) too many of the gypsy peppers to eat in a day –the three plants are now totally laden with baby fruit — and so next week I am going to try my hand at pickling peppers. I’m going to do a medley of the gypsy peppers, cherry peppers, and hot Tabasco peppers. We are still getting tons of okra but, because of the intense heat and drought, about half of those I pick turn out to be too tough to eat. The interesting thing about it is that some of the really small “new” okra are seriously tough and some of the ones that got ginormous overnight are but then some of the ginormous ones are nice and tender and….In about two weeks, we should be starting to get the first fall harvest of green beans, provided the neighbour doesn’t do another sneak attack on them!

Supporting the Kurds, fighting ISIS: Israel imports 77% of its oil from Iraqi-Kurdistan

While the U.S. has refused to send weapon or dollar one to the Kurds who are not only fighting for their lives but also are the ONLY force in the Middle East that is effectively fighting ISIS, Israel has stepped up to the plate.

Israel has reportedly purchased as much as 77 percent of its oil supplies from Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish population, providing them with an essential source of funding in their campaign against the Islamic State.

Read more:,7340,L-4693799,00.html

me vs the okra :) (pic)

If that okra grows any taller….

We finally got some blessed rain yesterday. It is a very good thing that I totally love okra because we are eating it every day. If it gets any taller though, I’m going to need a ladder to harvest all that yummy goodness.

homemade cat food recipe –stretch your dollars with healthy, inexpensive wet food supplements

“You can pay now or you can pay later.” That is a good adage for anyone who is feeding their kitty a diet of only dry kibble.

Don’t get me wrong, dry kibble has its place. Unless your kitty is unable to eat dry food, every cat should have a bit of dry kibble on hand daily in order to keep their teeth and gums in good shape (it scrapes the tartar off the teeth and keeps the bones that the teeth are embedded in strong). That said, a diet of only dry kibble will cause a host of problems when your kitty gets older in years –Translation: Sick kitty and high vet bills.

Cat food is expensive. With 31 cats to feed twice daily (and dry food munchies in between), I’m an expert on how expensive it is to feed cats a really healthy diet. So, I did a lot of research. I didn’t just go online (there is a lot of really bad advice out there, even from some veterinarians) before coming up with this recipe.

Recipe for 16 substantial servings:

1 cup of cooked rice
1/2 cup of cooked broccoli AND/OR cooked peas AND/OR cooked carrots –using just one will give you the 16 servings
1/2 can of tuna (cheapest brand you can find is okay)
1/2 can of wet cat food (we use Friskies Tasty Treasures)
Water as needed (we use the water from the cooked veggies)

In a food processor, blend the veggies and veggie broth (you can also blend the rice to make the mixture more like a pate)
Mix the tuna, cat food, and veggies into the rice

We top each serving with a tiny sliver of canned cat food (we use a Friskies pate version for the topping). A lot of our cats are not fans of the cooked carrots, many of them really like the peas and all of them are nuts over the broccoli. Try out the different veggie or veggie combos to see which one your cat will prefer. We were initially blending up the rice, thinking it would be easier to eat for our many kitties with teeth (and lack of teeth) issues but, quite by accident, we discovered that they have an easier time and like it better when we don’t blend up the cooked grains.

You can store the prepared mixture in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Because we have so many cats to feed, we double the recipe and use all of it per mealtime (and we cook it twice a day!). If you have only one cat, half the recipe above to get 3 days of human-grade tasty food for your kitty, loaded with vitamins and nutrients, and importantly, an aid to keeping your kitty hydrated.


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