Step-by-Step: Making Aliyah to Israel

Documenting the very personal process of making Aliyah (immigration to Israel) by one very atypical Israeli-American girl. Aliyah on 17, August, 2005. Roadmap: What do you mean there's no roadmap?! Hang on, we're in for a bumpy ride! Ole!

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Sandmonkey has made a very interesting post about the current balagan (mess) and the comments are also very worth a read. Read it here.

I'm a frustrated blogger today as I am crazed for time and want to respond to the comments from my recent post and want to post about the very interesting conversation I had with a student who lives in "qassan central" (e.g. just outside Sderot) yesterday. It was a very surprising conversation. As soon as I get a chance!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

And so it begins.

Or, in truth, continues. I'm talking, of course, about our forces moving en masse into Gaza for the first time since we pulled every soldier and settler from the area and unoccupied it almost one year ago. I'm talking about a young soldier, our Gilad, who has been kidnapped and is being held hostage somewhere in southern Gaza. I'm talking about an Israeli high school student, Eliyahu Asheri, who has been kidnapped in the West Bank and whose captors are threatening to kill him. I'm talking about a Palestinian leadership that is fractured into so many factions and factions within the factions, with so many old and new fissures, cracks, and unsteady alliances they can't be counted. I am talking about the mess in which we all live.

I was up all night watching the news, checking the various online newspapers. My phone rang at 3 a.m. My mother, of course. She was worried. She was angry. My mother is a very big fan of Mahmoud Abbas. She considers him to be a man of peace and a man of principle, of intelligence and pragmatism --and she understands, of course, that these very qualities are why he has so little real power or influence. Moderateness is not valued in this part of the world. She pointed out that the attack on Israeli soldiers within sovereign Israeli terrority, resulting in the deaths of two soldiers and the kidnapping of Gilad are as much an attack on Abbas and on the internal Palestinian negotiations on the Prisoner's Document as they are on us. The timing gives it away. This was an operation that was in the planning for months. And it was carried out within hours of an agreement being reached between the two main Palestinian factions --the action taken, of course, in direct contradiction to the agreement. And Haniyeh has now been shown to have as little pull and influence within Hamas as Abbas has over anyone or anything. A strike against the "zionist enemy" to be sure, but also a strike to emasculate Abbas --and Haniyeh.

And so now we all, Israelis and Palestinians alike, sit and wait. The humane among us hope that this will end with the safe return of Gilad and Eliyahu to their homes and their families. They hope that no innocent Palestinian civilians will be harmed. In the words of Gilad's father , "The emphasis here is on an intelligent, rather than impassioned, operation," Shalit said. "We would like no additional injuries, not among IDF troops and certainly not among innocent civilians on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian. This is of the utmost importance to us."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Yankee Iced Tea

Now tell me, what is a transplanted southern girl supposed to do when she desperately needs wants to make up a nice batch of southern iced sweet tea to fight off the dreadful heat and all she can find is yankee tea to make it with?! What, you may be asking is "yankee" tea? Yankee tea is any tea other than Luzianne and it is epitomized by the brand Lipton --that inferior, slightly bitter, monstrosity that has for some reason managed to spread itself around the globe and into people's mugs and teapots the world over. The world is missing out. They haven't tasted Luzianne.

I can already hear my british readers gagging politely behind their hands at the thought of an ice-cube sullying lovely hot tea that should be drunk up with milk in it, or at the least some lemon. But that is because the Brits live in a country with nice mild summer weather.

Every good (bad, and ugly) southerner knows that one of the best defenses against oppressive summer heat and humidity is a big pitcher of icy tea that was sweetened while still hot and steeping. Adding sugar to iced tea when it is already iced is nothing short of a criminal offense. For one thing, it doesn't really sweeten the tea. No those little crystal just fall to the bottom of the glass and swirl around your spoon like a mini-snowstorm which, while bringing wintery images to mind, does nothing to correctly sweeten the tea nor give the proper cooling effect when consumed. The importance of correctly sweetening the tea cannot be underestimated. In fact, the tea should not even be consumed immediately following disolving the (two cups per pitcher please) sugar into the hot tea and cooling. Do not immediately add ice-cubes and drink. Noooooo. The tea must be chilled in the refridgerator for at least several hours and preferably overnight! This is why you will always find several pitchers of tea in the refridgerator of a proper southern household --the one at the front is for now and ready, so please help yourself; the one right behind it is readying itself for the emergency replacement when the first is done; and the one at the very back has been freshly brewed and has an invisible "don't open for hours" sticker on it. The longer the tea is chilled the better it tastes as the bitterness of the tea mellows over time as the sugar and coldness do their magic. And properly brewed southern sweet tea is magic indeed.

It is not nearly as hot and humid here in Tel Aviv as in the deep south where I grew up but it is hot enough for sweet tea to be a neccessity.

Ema --bring the Luzianne when you come --the entire warehouse of it!!!

Monday, June 26, 2006

The worst form of torture:

Dentists. You know, I feel sorry for dentists because they are really roundly hated by almost all of those they help. I mean, they keep your teeth chewing and no one really thanks them for it. I've never met anyone who looked forward to a trip to the dentist. I had better change my outlook, however, as I have many trips scheduled ahead.

Yesterday I got an emergency appointment after another filling (the 3rd since arriving here in August) decided to disentegrate on me. When I called, the secretary asked "does it hurt?" Well, yeah, a bit..."can you be here in an hour?" Uhhh, *gulp* yeah, sure. I'd actually kinda been hoping for sometime next millenium week but...seems if you say it hurts here they fit you in immediately if not sooner. (This is a major change from doctor things in the U.S.: need help immediately, go to the emergency room, wait there 24 hours, and --if you haven't bled to death or something equally bad -- get seen along with a bill that will make you wish you had managed to die before treatment...).

Turns out that my old cheap-o dentist (ie. one of the few in NYC that were covered through my insurance) didn't know how to do fillings. This is why all those he did 3 years ago are suddenly falling out. They were compromised before they started falling out (who knew?) and one of the little teeths has now got to have a root canal as a result. My current dentist took a look at my teeth yesterday and tut tutted about a couple other fillings the bozo had done and said "they gotta go" but ooohed and ahhhed over some of the other fillings I've got (done many years ago). Yeah, well those were done by Madonna's dentist and that man knew what he was doing --and charged for his knowledge (hence moving to Mr. I Don't Have a Clue).

The guy I'm seeing now seems to have a big clue for which I am glad. The temporary I have in now, however, hurts more than the tooth did when it was half-missing its filling. He said to come back in to the specialist (a root canal specialist, already!) on Thursday if I experienced the slightest discomfort but I gotta work so I will gum things between now and thursday after next :) Today I had my teeth cleaned. This is way worse than a root canal. Give me the root canal any day. Not only that, but I have to go back and get a second cleaning done next week. Oh my, I'm soooo looking forward to it. Then, every 3 months after that until the hated braces come off (hopefully in one year --if my previous orthodontist will ever send my records so I can finish treatment). I also have the other two, thankfully more minor but unthankfully quite visible, fillings that have to be replaced. Yeah, I haven't been smiling broadly a lot lately.

Thank goodness for overdrafts, thank goodness for overdrafts :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I am glued to channel 10 following events and our Chief of staff gave a news update reporting that there is good information that our kidnapped soldier is alive. From the Ynet ticker, Abbas has called in "representatives of the Palestinian organizations in Gaza to his office. He told them that he had received an ultimatum from Israel, according to which is the abducted soldier is not returned within a few hours, IDF soldiers will enter the Strip and the organizations will bear the consequences." So far, no response from the various organizations. Earlier Abu Ubaidah, a spokesman for Hamas' military wing said that "apart from the abducted soldier, his people also hold parts of the bodies of the soldiers killed in the incident." What are they planning to have a meal with fava beans?

More updates to come if they come before my emergency dentist appt. (I can't believe I am understanding the news)
What a way to wake up this morning: lovely news, yes? (For anyone wondering that yes should be with heavy sarcasm). I've pretty much slept for two days with short breaks of consciousness to muzzily feed cats, clean on the apartment, stare at blank word documents that need to be filled, and then fall back into bed for "little naps" that run about 4 hours. A couple of then ran nearly 12. Then the process starts again. I did wake up on Friday night in order to have a delicious hungarian fried dough (did I say delicious already, I'll have to say it again a couple of time :) concoction cooked up for me by Noorster as consolation for missing out on Munich. I was supposed to meet her at nine but woke up at 10 and called with apologies as I frantically ran for a cab. It was all good (including the also really delicious cake brought along by another blogger) though and my lateness was very nicely excused.

Today I finally feel something like a human being again. I can locate my brain and now just have to see if I have anything left inside it...:)

Friday, June 23, 2006

My life has rapidly moved on from Seinfeld to Faulty Towers. If something can go wrong...yeah, it will. Got to the airport at just after 3. Stood in line in front of a really nasty pair of British tourists who for straight-on an hour whined and complained the entire time, discussing mostly how rude everyone is here and how no one ever smiles, that the service is bad, the place is ugly and there is literally nothing to recommend it. They complained about the security and why do they need to ask anyone anything because in civilized countries you can just get on the plane. I was like hmmm, well, maybe it is because we have terrorists --ever heard of those? I hear you have them in your oh-so-friendly (not) country as well. By the time I got to the "being questioned" spot I felt like proving their point about rudeness by giving them a good shove.

Then I waited on line to get my boarding pass. For another hour. Got there, things going well. Was going to have time to check out the duty free everyone raves about, yofi. Then ..."where is your visa?" My what? Come again? "Your visa, with a teudat ma'avar (temporary passport) you have to have a visa." Really? Why did no one tell me this? The people at the Misrad Ha'panim did not tell me this when I asked was there anything else I needed to go to Germany. They very nicely speeded up getting my teudat ma'avar for me and made the whole process of getting it very smooth and pleasant. But they said I only needed the teudat ma'avar. "Well they should have known better. You are going to have to change your flight and go and get a visa." Yes well you do realize it is a Friday and I can't get a visa today. Not only that, but my meeting is today. There has to be some way...

But no. I talked with the secretary of my department who was waiting for me at the boarding gate. We came up with the idea of maybe flying into France and zipping over on the train...I went back to see could I change the ticket and do this. Nooooo they require the visa too. I could fly into Belgium without it but the next flight to belgium was in the afternoon and even if I flew out that very minute the train wouldn't get me to Munich in time for a noon meeting. Well, yippee hi yay, I'm home.

No soup for me, no sheets for me, no Munich for me.

I did have the kewlest cab driver on the way home though. He had me in stitches the whole way back. I had been thinking in german getting ready for the trip and the german was obviously affecting my hebrew pronunciation --and being tired and frustrated and beyond caring made me way more fluent in hebrew than I am, like, ever. He asked if I was german for one thing and I said "yes" --and generally I tell cab drivers I'm german so they won't talk to me in english but they never ask it from my hebrew. I have a really pronounced american accent usually. So I asked if I had a strong accent and he said no, not really-- not bad like an American (!) but he could tell I spoke either yiddish or german. Yofi. Better than the american drawl. Maybe I just need to be tired and beyond caring all the time...I think maybe I need my bed even more, new sheetless as it is!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Newsflash: Olmert has been reading my blog. Just kidding of course. But remember back a few months ago when I sparked a seriously heated debate 'round here about the idea of letting the settlers amicably and willingly come back within the government demarcated areas (to be set) or to let them remain where they are but without our protection just as Israelis have to be if they are living in New York, or Germany, or anywhere else. To let them stay there if they refuse to move and so to become Palestinian citizens?

Well Olmert seems to have come up with the same idea as he said today: ""Each and every one of the settlers who live in territories that stand to be evacuated will need to decide whether to live in a Jewish state, the state of Israel, or in a Palestinian state,".

No sheets for you

Sigh. The sheet nazi has spoken. More on that in a minute but first want to point out this interesting article:

Very kewl: Israel appoints first Bedouin Envoy. And this guy sounds really kewl. He's had a very interesting life and his experiences show the complexity and diversity among Arab-Israelis in this country. A Bedouin, an Israeli, a Zionist, a shepard, and a very smart and thoughtful human being.

Ok, now to our regularly scheduled sheet kvetching. I found out today what all expenses the money I got for this trip is supposed to cover. First, it was less moolah than originally mentioned. Second, it seems we are staying in a very expensive place because my share of my half of the room is 100 Euros a night (in other words, room is 200 euros a night --I've only once or twice stayed anywhere on the continent where I paid more than 90-100 euros for my own darn room --usually more like 65, and in quite nice little hotels too). The hotel room is not, as was previously mentioned, being paid for in the same way (e.g., not by me) that the plane ticket was. That means 300 of my 320 euros goes for the room. And that means that the 20 euros left will not cover fares to and from the airport, meals or uh much of anything else.

I also had to buy a small suitcase for this trip as well because my other two are ginormous (you tend to get them that way when you are moving continents). It would seem kind of silly to arrive on a 3 -day trip with a suitcase capable of holding a month's worth of clothes and your stove *grin* and would seem really like, uh, bad to use the other readily available alternative: a plastic grocery bag. Ahh well, I'm only 2,230 shekels into my overdraft this month. Cringe.

I am going to be a very tired camper at that meeting tomorrow (let's hope at least coherent) as I got only a couple of hours of sleep last night since I had to be up and out of here for the first bus to Beer Sheva and was madly getting all the things done that had to be done before I could think about going anywhere. I got home about 7 pm but had to go and pick up cat supplies for the next 4 days so the fantabulous Noorster can feed the little critters. I also bought dinner supplies for me but I think I am too tired to make it. I have to leave for the airport in a scant 5 hours and I still have to pack and shower --trust me, after a day running about in the heat of the Negev everyone on the plane will thank me profusely if I do so. So I think I will be sleepless in Tel Aviv and in Muenchen.

Oh and the prospective cat-girl turned out to be a serious flake who took one look at my beautiful little rescues and said, "they look like cats from off the street." Well yes, that would be because they are cats from off the street --Hellooo? "They won't do at all, I want a white one to match my furniture and it has to have no claws." Well, dearie that is something you'd have to pay for and I hope you don't find one to mangle like that. Match my furniture indeed.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fantastic news via the SandMonkey : Alaa is Free!!!!!!

Well now, that is just about the best yom huledet present I could get. The yom huledet was yesterday. I boycotted it. What else is a little political firebrand supposed to do when faced with getting younger? :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Saudi Eve's plight and that of other female and liberal bloggers in Saudi Arabia has made it to the mainstream press. There's an article about her on Yahoo (and also on CBS, and AlJazeera). You go girl!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

I may have a home for one of the kittens! Or, to be more exact, one of the guys at the petstore just 3 addresses down from me may have found a home for one of the kittens.

I often feel like a vet on-call for this little petstore. The two guys who work there are really fantastic (my kitties have benefited by many free toys and even a special plate that doesn't bother their whiskers --who knew? but they all want to eat out of this particular errr dish). Of course, I am one of their best customers as well. These are guys who, every day --even multiple times per day if I pass that direction --call out to me as I pass or, even more often, come out of the store and chat with me on the street. Mostly about nothing in particular but sometimes they have questions other customers have had for them that they didn't know the answers to. Two or three times a week I get a call from one of them with a customer present and a burning question. A couple of days ago it was a young woman who had rescued a puppy only days old (similar story to my kitties --mother dead, the rest of the litter also) who needed information about hand-feeding. I gave her a run-down of the information I knew about feeding and temperatures to keep the 'baby' at and also referred her to my vet since she is in the area.

Tonight when Ran called (about 5 minutes ago) I was feeling a bit put-out when I answered -it is, after all like 10:30 p.m. I'm happy to help out and all but I'm not a vet...and then he sprung the "hey I think I've found a home for one of your kittens!" Oh most beloved person to call me in the world. The prospective young owner has a small puppy (one that will never get beyond being small even when big) and she wants a kitty to keep it company, thinking getting them both tiny is the best integration idea (yes!). She is going to call me tomorrow and set up a time to come and view the kitties and, hopefully, choose one to take home with her. She lives just on Yermiyahu (just around the corner) and wouldn't it be nice if I could actually visit the kitty sometimes to see how it does? Yes, ok, I've become attached :) Of course, I have evil plans of seeing if she would take both boys since they are so close but one will do and welcome!

And I just love my petstore! Call me anytime :)

File under: only in Israel
For the second time tonight I've sproinged out of bed and for the same reason. Crash, smash, shatter. Crazy Israeli drivers. Two accidents outside my apartment in the last 3 hours. Yo, folks, if you insist on driving like lunatics and on creaming the car/truck/motorcyle in front of, beside, behind you or simply parked --could you please do it more quietly?! At this time of the night there aren't that many cars for you to hit on my street, how are you managing this? Stop it!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Israeli folk dancing on the tyelet at the beach

Israeli folk dancing on the tyelet at the beach
Originally uploaded by yaeli_13.

Athough taken a couple of weeks ago, these pictures are pretty representative of what my day was like yesterday too (except for the meeting the students break from fun)

Cute couple
Originally uploaded by yaeli_13.

Summer Sunset in Tel Aviv
Originally uploaded by yaeli_13.

A full day in the sun ended with a beautiful sunset view (and a sunburn). Another reason I love to live in Tel Aviv!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Sigh, I hate it when I misread things. I was over at Saudi Eve's and was doing a quick catch-up and saw that she said there were now a lot of blocked blogs and then there was a list with my blog on it. I jumped to the conclusion that all those blogs on the list were now blocked --but no. Those are the blogs that have complained about her blog being blocked. So I'm not blocked and the other blogs listed are not blocked but Eve is still blocked. Write the censors and tell them to get their heads out of the sand.

What I said before about the Saudi Censors being mean and nasty still stands! Yo people we live in the Middle East, not the Middle Ages!

On another Middle Eastern note, there's a kewl Jordanian blog that's come to my attention: Mo.

Now I'm going to go file my nails or something.

Friday, June 16, 2006

As predicted, today was a wash for getting my own work on papers and such done but was extremely busy on other fronts. I met with students until almost 9 p.m. when I rushed to catch the last train back. I signed off on papers allowing BGU to get reimbursed from the government for hiring me (ole for the olah!), I picked up my university-paid- for plane tickets to Germany for the big meeting I have coming up there. I signed papers to insure that I will get university funds for my 3 days there for expenses--how crazy is this: 400 euroes for 3 days!!!! (this is ooo I thought 1/4th but just did the conversion on the calculator and discovered it is 98% of my montly take-home salary from BGU! For 3 days!!). Yo, I am so not complaining. I desperately need new bedsheets from Hertie (I have a lovely german bed with double german mattress system --linens from the U.S. and also from here don't fit it, like at all. I can't tell you how badly I need new sheets and duvet covers). I need like everything and anything from Hertie or Karstadt two of my favourite places on earth and I am not really a shopping kind of girl. I hope I can find a good shop for jeans since I won't be on home german turf. I only buy jeans in germany (the only place I've found jeans to fit my funky little figure) and the last time I bought them was like years ago and my current set are in varying stages of sprouting many serious holes.

When I got home tonight at close to midnight I found the sweetest card I've ever gotten in my mailbox. My mother sent it and it said (in part):

"The geographical distance between a polish jewish mom and her adventurer daughter is too great. I'm working on a solution. Hang on! I'll be there to offer support (also unwanted advice, nervy comments, etc.)"

Nu, I happen to have the best polish'e yiddische mama ever to grace this earth and if anyone suggests otherwise them's fightin' words :)

P.S. shorts have finally made a come-back here. Lots of shorts just like mine that I was wearing last year and that people looked at me like I had two heads for wearing (ok, Israel is obviously a year behind the U.S. in fashion which is a year behind Germany). Girls everywhere in Tel Aviv are sporting shorts (mostly combined with a hideously Israeli fashion glitch of combining them with high heeled pumps -- yo, the Dukes of Hazzard is so passe girls). The questions are now whether I can a) find where I packed the darn shorts away and b) can I, after my hummus-eating year, still fit into them if I find them...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rock on. That was the theme of today, and rock on I did. I was up at 7 feeling remarkably refreshed after having had nearly 7 hours of sleep. I migrated between computer and household chores (laundry, laundry, still --two weeks without a washer makes it pile up!). I checked my watch, thinking it must be around 3 and found it was only 11:30. I worked on. By two I was starting to pat myself on the back. I managed to write 22 pages on an article and so it is close to being done. Ulpan was not a disaster even though I was feeling really tired by then. I answered questions in class and, maybe because I was tired, volunteered to discuss an aspect of the listening exercise we did when the teacher had a "Beuler, Beuler..." experience and got a kol ha'kavod for my efforts. Oooh la, that kindergartner feeling of getting a star on your forehead just never goes away does it?

Tomorrow will be a wasted day for me, as far as getting my own work done, but hopefully a good one for all the students I will be meeting with and, of course, teaching.

Writing all the verbs in the dictionary and separating them into the different binyamin they belong in (ok, I admit to being nuts) has seriously started to pay off for me. Because, unlike German which made total sense to me and I sucked up without even realizing I had picked up a word or phrase or grammar point just from listening to people talk, hebrew generally makes no sense at all in my little brain. I cannot apply the german model. But now I think I have discovered the system that will work for me. I had to create my own order for the language and now progress is finally starting to happen --at least on the verbal front.

Ok, so (to bore you all to tears) this is what I did. Over the past several months during times I was too tired to do anything else or trapped on a bus, I got out my dictionary and wrote out all the verbs and all of their meanings very sloppily into a "trash" notebook (e.g. one that had been used for other purposes but still had an unused 40 or so pages in it at the back). I started with aleph and continued on. Then, in the evenings right before bed for 15 or 20 minutes a night I proceeded to recopy all of the verbs into a little diary with pretty coloured pages, again alphabetically. But I also separated them out by first listing all the Kal verbs, then the piels, and then the piels with 4 root letters for each letter --in the infinitive. The hifils and the hitpaels got their own sections -- I actually haven't done the nifals yet.

Now, in class, when a verb I don't know pops up I grab the notebook and find it very quickly rather than using the dictionary. But I also have started reviewing the verbs from the notebook while on the bus, sitting for hours at the misrad hapanim etc. My verb-meaning recognition (when I see the word in a paragraph for instance) has increased 10 fold. I also amuse myself when bored and unable to do anything else by trying to list from memory all the verbs that have aleph as the first letter of the shoresh for instance (and aleph verbs have gotten the most attention) along with every possible meaning. I don't do this very often but the other day I had an otherwise twiddling my thumbs opportunity and was surprised to find that I generated correctly and with all possible meaninngs 42 of the 67 'aleph' verbs. I did respectably well on the bets, ok on the gimmels...but I died on the dalets (only 15 out of 72!). So now I know where I need to open the notebook when I do a quick read through (no memorization things just glancing over) --Dalets and kadima!

I'm going to do a notebook for nouns alphabetically and one for adjectives and adverbs. Then I'm going to figure out how to not get the infinitive to pop out of my mouth rather than the correctly conjugated version in the middle of my sentences :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It looks like the terrible and horrific tragedy that unfolded on a Gaza beach last friday, in which nearly an entire family was killed, was caused by a mine planted in the sand by Hamas rather than by an IDF shell.

But you know what? It doesn't really matter who was responsible for this horrible tragedy. Sure, in the finger-pointing arena it matters, and of course it matters on the international public relations front. But in real nitty gritty human terms, no it doesn't matter.

Don't believe me? Go and ask those little girls who lost both parents and their siblings if they care whether it was an Israeli shell that went badly off-target or whether it was a mine planted by Hamas to thwart any further beach use by the Israeli commandos coming in to round up militants. They will tell you that they don't care. What matters to them is that they no longer have a mother, they no longer have a father. They no longer have their brothers and sisters. What matters to them is that, while innocently enjoying a family outing, their lives were suddenly, horrifically altered. Their world exploded and it doesn't matter to them how or why. Aba and Ema, that is what matters to them.

And of course more innocent lives will most likely be lost in the coming weeks. There will certainly be suicide bombings here as a "reaction" and this will occur whether it was an errant IDF shell or whether it was a palestinian-laid mine. Because you see, it doesn't matter to the people whose business is death either.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Update: Ze paper from hell he is done. Sent. Gone. Finished. Hurray! And I think I managed to at least mostly de-plagarize my own words. Well at least I didn't self-plagarize any of my articles that were in any of the bigger more important publication venues.

Now the big decision: to take a nap and rest my tired little eyes before ulpan start on the other two articles that were due uh, last week. Hmmm.....Maybe put another load of clothes washing! Aha, yes, that is the answer. Mechanics came today, fished two sheks from the filter and replaced a defective pump and I am in washing machine heaven. Which is good because there are piles of dirty laundry everywhere all over the apartment happily sorted by colour and waiting their turn to not sit on my floor, or my couch, or at the foot of my bed.

I plan to blog about my thoughts on what occurred on Friday on the Gaza beach but I have and still am too upset about it to even think about writing. I don't have any words at the moment and I am haunted by it. I feel physically sick when I even think about it, exactly as I feel when a suicide bomb has gone off here but differently too, worse in a way. Well, later, I don't have the words now.

Plagarism is bad, immoral and just plain wrong. But is plagarizing yourself in that same category? You wrote it to begin with right? Of course, journals and books and other things do not want your recycled sentences --no they are in for the new and fresh ones. The problem I am having is that, well, there are only so many ways to describe the findings of the same lab study, for instance. I have, to date, found 11 different ways to describe it(them) --it is the 12th that I am really having problems with. I keep re-writing sentences and finding that, lo and behold, I re-wrote or maybe originally wrote (who can keep track?!) that sentence in exactly that way in article X. So change it...nooooo, there it is in article P. Waaaa. And it is not that I am simply regurgitating the same article again and again (thankfully, I'd shoot myself) but that these studies are foundational and so have to be discussed along with new studies and in new contexts in nearly everything I write. Part of what takes me so long now in writing is trying to track down all the "have I said this before and if so in the exact same way?" things.

Almost done with this paper. Almost. End in sight. Stop. Don't celebrate yet...back to work.

Reasons to like Beer Sheva:

The new bridge to the university from the train station in Beer Sheva. There are speakers mounted all along it and sometimes the guards (or someone) pipes hip music through them so you have an enjoyable meandering experience as you walk along.
In the spring (and until last week) everywhere you look you see trees showing off these beautiful light purple flowers. They smell really good too!

And lo! There is water in the desert. Man-made of course :)

Actually one of the things that I really like about my trip to Beer Sheva when taking the bus is a view that I don't have a picture of. You are driving along and on one side of the road is an established errrr grouping of trees. On the other is desert with a sign saying "the Ambassador's forest" and if you squint very hard you can see some tiny trees that have planted --in another 15 years it will really be a forest. And then suddenly, seeming to sprout of out nowhere, the skyline of the city comes into view but not distant and tiny. No, right there in front of you as if some magic has occurred to conjure a full-fledged city right before your eyes. It is a neat experience every time and I've never gotten tired of seeing that city jump into being before my eyes. Actually entering the city feels kind of magical as well, as you go suddenly from desert brown and muted, dusty greens of scrubby trees to lush grass and palm trees.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I am insanely busy. If I thought I'd lost my mind before, I was so wrong, now is the time it is going. Maybe already gone and irretrievably so. Three weeks people, in just three weeks I will have a life again. I will actually have weeks and weeks of vacation in which I can get all the work done that has backed up so badly --the stuff that I'm not doing now with all the things that have to be done now.

Little Girl did have an intenstinal blockage but it was not from the nipple that she ate. She had roundworms and these can proliferate in the intestines of a small kitten and cause a blockage and death. When I first brought the kittens into the house they were too small, having just gotten past opening their eyes (and Little Girl's were not even completely open), to treat for worms in the event that they had them --and the assumption was good that they did. When she swallowed the nipple and I brought her in, the vet did give her the de-worming medicine at the same time he did the enema but she vomited it up immediately (along with everything else for several hours after that). But then of course she improved quite dramatically, I found the nipple in the carrier, and we thought aha problem solved. They were all scheduled to go in for their de-worming this coming Monday.

She was fine over the weekend and on Monday, which she spent at the vet's. On Tuesday, however, she was a little less playful than usual. Rather than doing the rough and tumble with the boys she was preferring solitary exploring and playing. I just thought that, the boys being so much bigger and stronger than her, she was tired of getting bowled over on a regular basis by her sibs. But then Tuesday night things started to look worse and I became very concerned. She was still eating like a small horse but I noticed two things: the pot-bellied appearance had returned and even when eating she was lifting one leg up like a little stork, signally that she had tummy discomfort. She was not playing any longer at all but preferring to sit in my lap. At the 2 a.m. feed she managed to go a copious amount but that did not seem to relieve her. About 20 minutes later she went again and...a long (very long) worm came out. At the 6 a.m. feed things were very bad indeed --she refused to eat and just huddled in my lap. At 8 I put in a plea to the vet to come in early (he opens at 10) and he came in at 9. We were waiting outside his door when he arrived and she was very weak at that point. He immediately gave her more de-worming medicine and when he took her temperature a bit of blood came out on the thermometer. Not a good sign. He gave me a prescription for flagyl and told me to give her the laxative syrup every couple of hours and to bring her back at 5. I brought her home, ran out to get the prescription filled and immediately gave her the first dose of flagyl. After about 30 minutes --she vomited it. Called the vet, he said wait 2 hours and try again. I couldn't get any of the laxatives into her. I put her carrier right next to me as I tried to do some work. She lay down in a little ball for about an hour and a half. But then she kept trying to stand up and walk but couldn't and would fall over. I wrapped her in a baby blanket and held her on my chest, petting her and massaging her tummy as the vet had shown me. She was breathing very shallowly and rapidly. I called my mother and woke the poor woman up at 4:30 in the morning her time. My vet had just closed and wouldn't be open until 5; my mother said take her to an emergency clinic. So I hung up the phone and ran around the house with the kitten in my arms trying to find where I put the emergency number. I called the Rishon Letzion clinic and talked to the vet, but while I was getting directions Little Girl let out a couple of very weak little cries, then had a small convulsion and stopped breathing.

If I hadn't been so busy on tuesday I would have paid more attention to her behavior during the day and would most likely have seen enough signs to tell me to take her to the vet then and there. Being so pressed for time, however, I was just feeding them, helping them with the bathroom functions, letting them play for only a few minutes and then putting them back in their carrier and zipping off again. The boys went in at 5 on Wednesday and got dewormed. At dusk on Wednesday night, Little Girl and I went to a little Gan (tiny park) that has an entrance so hidden away that I walked right past it every day for 3 months without noticing that it led to a little park. I found a place under a small palm tree in the flower garden and next to the wall where it is unlikely any other plants will be put and buried her with a little garden spade. If she had been any bigger I could not have accomplished it.

On a happier note, my friend Michie has saved a bunny and he is very cute.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Little Girl died in my arms about two hours ago. Will blog about what happened later but not now. No, I'm not just sitting here grieving --well I am sitting here grieving while simultaneously being overwhelmed with work. So when I get time from the work to breathe I'll post again.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Helpful hints on things not to do if you don't want Yael really angry with you:

Do not call her and tell her there is something extremely urgent-- so drop everything and spend two days doing it-- and then when she has pulled out all the stops tell her, actually we made a mistake and we didn't need that at all, we need this instead.

Do not then, after receiving a screaming email from Yael, apologize and then tell her that a very important meeting has been set up, without consulting her or her calender, but that she must drop everything and attend it. Do not then CANCEL the meeting BUT NOT TELL YAEL so that she a)has paid 150 shekels to a vet to feed small kittens during the many hours she is gone b)canceled other meetings c) not gotten any work done on any of the things that are overdeadline because of the shenanigans last week d) paid for a round-trip ticket to hell with no reimbursement and d) wasted an entire DAY going to a meeting that didn't happen. Oh yeah, and had to leave ulpan an hour early to pick up the cats.

Icing on the cake is informing her that the meeting has been rescheduled, again without consulting her --what, I look like I sit around and file my nails all day? --and then act put-out and like she isn't invested in the project because she can't make it, having agreed to and scheduled to give a talk on that particular day some 3 months ago.

Don't go there. And no, my blog police aren't allowed to delete.

My blog has turned into kitty central again since the arrival of new little kittens. I glanced over my recent entries and thought 'what a bizarre mix of cat stories, politics, mundane details, and a hefty amount of kvetching.'

I'm hoping the kitty updates will end like real soon (preferably if I can find homes for the little darlings in a couple of weeks). They all ate on their own today. No, not the nice mother's milk subsitute but an entire can in one go of hill's A/D. Naively, I bought one can off the vet this afternoon. I'd dropped by to plead for advice because syringe feeding them was driving me completely crazy. He said they learn how to bite and chew food before they learn how to lap things up and so to give them a little bit. Little bit?! The three teaspoons I put down disappeared before I could suck in a breath. Then they started attacking each other (I mean I never knew they could be so wicious, as Elmer Fudd would say). I quickly put down more food and extracted previously demure Little Girl's claws from her brother's face (at which point she bit the blood out of my finger). Good night! They ate the whole can and wanted more. But they absolutely did not want any of the formula. They've tasted meat my friends and the milk is toast.

My vegetarian heart quailed. They reminded me of my friend Kat now that she's gone off the veggie diet...(just kidding!)

I have to go to Beer Sheva tomorrow. Have to get my passport sorted out but think it will probably have to be Tuesday morning (why are these people only open until 11?!). My pictures I took for it make me look like a criminal. Or maybe criminally insane. A double whammy.

I'm at my wits end about the washer. I went to 2 places today that sell washers but they don't do repairs. Can I just say that I no longer recommend ABC for buying appliances. Nearly everything I got through them has broken --the VCR was broken right out of the box, the DVD player ceased playing after the 4th play, and now the washer. And they haven't responded to email or phone calls with my warranty information --or to respond to my "do you realize everything you sold me has broken inside of 7 months?". I was only half-joking when I said I might just buy a new washer. At this point I think it would be easier and quicker and make my life a lot more sane. Anything to preserve sanity at this point is worth millions of dollars. When running on no more than 3 hours of sleep a day, yeah, absolutely.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Anyone know of a good and reliable washing machine repairman for AEG washers in Tel Aviv? I haven't heard back from ABC to find out who has my warranty and I can't wait for the free people to come. I'm to the point that I'm willing to buy an entirely new machine like today if necessary. Actually I can wait as long as tomorrow. I am hard pressed to find a towel or article of clothing that is not covered in kitten mess and the kittens just keep on messing! I need a washing machine!!!!

My cousin is already here since like last week. So well, uh, welcome home :)

Oh and if you are tired of hearing me whine about my washing machine, go to this site and tell them they should unblock Eve. Eve is an incredible Saudi Blogger and the neanderthal male morality nuts can't stand for women to have a voice and so they've gotten her site blocked within Saudi Arabia. If enough people fill out this form the site gets unblocked. Hat tip to the SandMonkey.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ooops, a "technical" glitch (called the delete button) ate that last post. What a shame. Ahh, well, we'll not refer to it publicly again.

Am totally crazed with work. Beyond crazed. So beyond crazed.

I can't live without a washing machine. Not with 6 cats, three of whom are not litter box trained. As in not. At all. One did attempt to eat the litter, another had fun tossing it out of the box and chasing it but using it for the right purpose --ohhh noooo. WASHING MACHINE MECHANIC WHERE ART THOU?!

(Ya gotta love it when your mother reads your blog and calls you a brainless twit *grin* Well, mothers -at least mine --are disconcertingly right most of the time. Love you Ema!!!!!!!).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Little Girl update: Several things have occurred on the the baby cat front. One of the kittens "went" copiously last night but I can't be sure which one. Baby girl may or may not have swallowed the nipple. In my sleep-dazed state (it was nearly 3 a.m.) when I pulled out the soiled baby blanket and replaced it with a clean one I wasn't looking too carefully within the carrier other than at the baby blanket itself. This morning --two feedings later--, however, when I went put in another clean blanket I discovered the bitten-off nipple in the bottom of the carrier. Yow, I thought, that must mean it was little girl who went and she passed the nipple out. But the vet checked it out and said he doesn't think she swallowed it to begin with because "it would be in much worse shape." That then begs 2 questions, first how did it get in the carrier to begin with? --I have changed the bedding in it umpteen times since the nipple separated from the bottle and there was no sign of it in the carrier. Plus, I was feeding her several feet away from the carrier when the biting off incident happened. Secondly, if having a nipple stuck in her gut wasn't what made her not be able to excrete and to do the projectile vomiting then what has caused it? She is half (quite literally) the size of her brothers who are growing by leaps and bounds. So obviously she has not been absorbing her food. The boys don't fit in my hand anymore --she does with room to spare.

The next mixed news is that at that 3 a.m. feeding --supposed to be boys only--she climbed onto the formula plate and started drinking on her own. Because the vet had said not to let her have anything until the 9 a.m. feeding though, I took her away from the food. At the 9 a.m. feeding --she didn't want to eat. Not only didn't want to eat but when I put a little bit of food into her mouth she did swallow it but about 1 minute later it came right back up.

We just got back from the vet. He gave her a tiny bit of fluids and some antibiotics. I am now on the "feed her teeny tiny amounts of food every two hours" schedule and I just gave her 3 ccs of formula --so far so good. We're on the waiting and hoping that things will turn around for her schedule. If she pulls through this, I'm keeping her. I made her that promise at the 6 a.m. (boys) feeding when she burrowed under my chin, clinging to my nightshirt, crying weakly and purring at the same time.

The good news is that the boys are in excellent shape. A rough and tumble, playful crew. The vet was all compliments on their development. (Oh and for all you would-be shadchans out there --trust me, I'd marry the vet in 2 seconds if he seemed even remotely interested --so di already!)