Archive | March 2014

CATastrophe and my unexpected new computer

On Thursday night, just minutes after I posted my blog post and got off the phone with my Ema, I went into the kitchen to collect my toasted dinner sandwich and a big glass of freshly made (thanks to Sodastream) orange soda. I carried them into the living room and was just setting down the plate with my sandwich on my only ‘table’ (a coffee table) next to the computer when Mischa leaped onto the table and skittered into the hand that was in the process of placing the soda. The soda went sky high and then came down. Soggy orange soda toasted cheese sandwich anyone? Not only was the sandwich drenched and ruined but a copious amount splashed across the keyboard of the computer. I had one of those keyboard covers that is supposed to protect your computer from major spills of “beer, coffee, milk and other liquids.” Yeah. Don’t believe the hype. Their claims of protecting your computer from dust and crumbs are quite valid but when it comes to liquids….a very definite bogus award should be given.

Before I could even reach for my napkin or other cloth items, the screen on the computer started flashing back and forth between black and white. The connected speaker started emitting a strange static and squawk. The lights on the (I haven’t had the nerve to check to see what damage may have been done to them yet) two connected external drives started flashing like mad. I unplugged the computer immediate and started wiping up, around, underneath but could not get the computer to turn off. I unplugged the drives frantically. I flipped over the computer and took out the battery to finally shut it down. Long story short, the next morning when everything was fully dry — the computer was dead as a doornail. I must say that, other than grieving over the cost of buying a new computer that I can ill afford, I did not grieve over the computer itself. It was a lemon from the get-go, losing the ability to change from English to Hebrew and losing the speaker sound within the first 3 days of purchase.

Yesterday morning the first thing I had to do was to go to the Ayalon mall to try to find another computer. The big box store where I bought the lemon was gone and there were only two other places in the mall selling computers of any description. I went to Bug but they only had 4 models, most of which were of the HP Lemon variety and all of which were more than 4,000 shekels. The other store had 7 models, four of which had the old intel core i3 processor (Two Acer, one Asus and one Dell). The Dell with a core i5 (and one terabyte disk drive) was 4,000. But they had an Acer with core i5 and 500 gigabyte disk space for 2600 sheks. (They had one computer not on display with a core i7 but it was over 6,000 sheks). Hello Acer Aspire V5 572 and welcome to my apartment. I’m not seriously thrilled to have you (or any computer running windows 8 –what was Microsoft thinking?) but you are better than a non-functioning computer and hopefully not as bad as the HP lemon you are replacing.

I also managed to find my sought-after apple (tapuach) sodastream syrup in the mall –if anyone knows where to find Dr. Pete or Rootbeer please let me know.

Now, here’s the irony. For the last 7 years I’ve had no less than 8 cats and no more than 18 cats running wild and free in my apartment at any one time. They did nefarious things like prying off keys from the keyboard (bad Gingi!!) but never managed to flip over drink or food onto the various computers I’ve had. Now, with only three on the loose (Nesicha Stubby Tail is confined), one has done so and killed a computer and it wasn’t Batya The Batter who is famous for flipping over anything with liquid in it, nor my blind Little Mouse but the least likely cat out of all the more than 32 cats that have one time lived with me in my ten years in Israel (some placed into happy good homes, some who sadly passed over the Rainbow Bridge) who is to blame. Bad Mischa!! Well, when he was a baby cat, way back in 1999, he did earn a nickname of Mischa Mechant so much so that I bought a little sign reading ‘chat mechant’ (bad cat) to put over his food bowl. He grew out of that but, in his old age, he is obviously regressing to childhood.

Amazing urban Israeli garden in California

This is one of my favourite gardening videos: So many great ideas from Urban Adamah

Here’s a blurb from their website: Urban Adamah is an educational farm and community center in Berkeley, California, that integrates the practices of Jewish tradition, sustainable agriculture, mindfulness and social action to build loving, just and sustainable communities. We provide educational programs and community celebrations for more than 5,000 visitors a year, as well as a residential fellowship program for young adults that combines organic farming, progressive Jewish living and social justice internships. Urban Adamah also offers innovative, farm-based programs for school-age children. Our organic farm produces a diverse yield of crops, all of which we donate to the local community through food banks and our weekly Free Farm Stand.

a good Tel Aviv day

This morning I taught my class, met with students, collected paperwork I need for my U.S. taxes, and dealt with a bit of work paperwork. Then I headed to the bus for Tel Aviv.

I’d not heard from the lawyer and discovered a voice message letting me know he no longer used that phone number the ex-landlady’s daughter gave me. So I went to the Azrieli towers armed with the address she had given me. Up I went to the floor she told me but soon discovered that they had moved their offices down to the floor below. The lawyer was out to lunch when I got there but he gave me a call back before I left the Azrieli shopping mall (I was trying to find a shop that sells the syrups for Sodastream –I’ve found a couple of places but they only carry the cola, diet cola, orange, and diet tea: I got a big bottle of the diet cola free and I did buy the orange flavour when I found it but what I really, really want is the Apple (best damn thing I’ve had to drink like ever), the Dr. Pete, and Rootbeer. Alas, no luck on the syrup front but the lawyer is now searching the archives for all the paperwork and hopefully will find it by Monday at the latest.

From there I headed to the dentist. I had time to get a quick half sandwich before my 4 pm appointment at a cafe close to his office. He checked me out and, by luck, the dental hygienist had a cancellation and I was able to get my teeth cleaning done right after he finished the exam, x-rays, and impressions. I also got these cool new wooden toothpick like things from them in a size that specifically fits my very narrow spacing between most of my teeth and that are supposed to be way better than ye olde regular dental floss. I’ve got an appointment next week set up to get that tooth I broke several years ago now finally fixed (the cap on a crown fell off) and after that fix the cosmetic disaster the disaster dentist created with two of my fillings.

too greedy for collard greens

Yesterday I caused myself to have a very unpleasant allergic reaction. I am really allergic to anything that has significant quantities of vitamin C in it (I’m actually highly allergic to salicylate but the rule of thumb is that if it is high in C it is also high in salicylate acid) and so have to be careful to not glut on down on things like oranges, spinach, strawberries — essentially all my favourite fruit and veggies. I limit myself to three oranges a week and never eat an entire orange in one sitting. With spinach, while a primo meal would be a huge tureen of spinach and nothing else, spinach is quite expensive here and so I dole out little side servings of the frozen stuff as pretty rare treats and am not tempted to court danger. Ahhh but I’ve got a motherlode of collard greens growing out in my garden. The plants are huge. There are a lot of them. So yesterday I harvested a nice big basket of leaves off them, leaving still gargantuan plants still a-growing. I cooked up a big pot and baked up some cornbread to go with them.

I fixed a small serving size of the collards and a slice of cornbread as a mid-morning/breakfast snack. The collards were good. They were really, really good. I was so enamoured of my garden creation that I had a second serving of them. A few hours later I was feeling a bit peckish and so…had some more. A few more hours later, I fixed an early dinner — more collards and another slice of cornbread. I was just in collard green heaven.

About an hour after dinner, I started to swell up. My lips started to swell, my hands swelled into little beefy sausage like things, hives started popping up on my arms and wrists and neck. My head started aching and I felt sick just all over. I made an emergency run to the pharmacy and got benadryl and took a double dose. It took hours for the hives to finally fade and I was still slightly swelled up when I left for work this morning. All is good now but me and the collards are going to have a serious talk about moderation and small portions.

No surprises: Abbas rejects all 3 core peace issues

In his meeting with Obama, Abbas rejects ever recognizing Israel as a Jewish State, rejects that millions of descendents of refugees (original refugees are all in their late 60s if they were born in the year they became refugees) around the world would return to a Palestinian State and insists that, instead, Israel must accept them as citizens, and, finally rejects committing to an ‘end to conflict’ and violent actions against Israel following any ‘peace deal.’

No surprises here. The Palestinians have rejected every peace deal they were offered, even when Ehud Barak with Bill Clinton’s backing, offered Arafat far more than Arafat and the Palestinians had been demanding back in 2000. They opted for a violent ‘intifada’ instead.

All I can say is, build, baby, build.

now that’s progress

Yesterday things came together and let me get more things done than I’ve gotten done in weeks, all in one day. I taught in the morning and then headed to Tel Aviv. My first stop was the new office of my original dentist. He does really good work and it is still holding up with no problems nearly 10 years on. I’d switched, however, on the recommendation of the orthodontist I was seeing (I had braces on my teeth when I moved here, remember?!). But if anyone has seen me smile in the last couple of years, you can easily see that the recommendation was not a good one. We are talking filling disintegration nation. I’ve got an appointment next week to get a full check-out-what and when things in the mouth need to be done. Mind you, while looking forward to it, I’m not exactly looking forward to it (I hate undergoing dental work).

From there I walked on down, again, to my first apartment on Dizengoff. The ex-landlady’s daughter was again not home and she still hadn’t checked her over-flowing mailbox but, luckily, someone was coming out of the secured outer door and I was able to zip in, zip up, and slide a note under her door begging her to contact me ASAP. From there I went to the ex-landlady’s home apartment and this time my buzz was answered. Unfortunately, I was let in by the guys who are renovating the apartment. My ex-landlady has been installed in an old people’s home and the family is planning to sell her already gorgeous apartment (I don’t see how any renovations could improve it!) on Basel St. From the workmen, however, I got the contact information for the lawyer (not the lawyer I need) of her other daughter.

I dropped two bags of kitchen gadgets that I won’t be able to take with me but that some new olim had mentioned they needed off at their new apartment. I stopped and splurged on a working meal at a cafe and had the fun of it turning into personal time when my Ema called.

Then, on the bus home, the ex-landlady’s daughter called and I’ve now got the contact info for the lawyer.

update on Princess Stubby Tail

Nesikha (pronunciation: Nessie-Kha but you have to make sure you sound like you are coughing up a furball when you do the ch/kha part) means “princess” in Hebrew and that is what I have decided to name the stubby-tailed black kitty. In her first couple of days in the big cage she lolled about on her plush pink and white bed, slept, groomed herself, and seemed to enjoy dining on much more gourmet fare than she was used to having. The last two nights, however, she has been like the princess and the pea at night. Yeowl! All night.

She’s got to stay in the cage for at least another week. She needs to get fully place acclimated, re-trusting-people acclimated, and, importantly, easily back into a carrier to get vetted for her shots next week. After that, I will let her have the run of Tovi’s old room. After that, it will depend on the logistics of when she will travel to our Dustie’s Animal Rescue and Adoption Sanctuary (DARA).

She is making great strides on the again trusting people front, or, at least, on the trust me front. After she was abducted, tortured and maimed by person or person’s unknown, she would hiss and scratch at me when I tried to pet her and even at my hand when I was putting down her food outside. Now, when I come in to feed her, she winds and presses against me and purrs when I pet her while she is eating. I know enough not to rush her and am not doing any outreach toward her, except when she is eating — I’m letting her work within her comfort zone and do the outreach mostly herself.