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!

Monday, January 30, 2006

update: Just talked to Dr. Barkan and she said, well let's wait a few more days and see how she does and we'll do the test one more time. It may be that we did the test too soon. The numbers relating to toxicity levels (started with a u but can't remember the name) were still incredibly high (322 when the upper range of normal is 60) but they had fallen by about 130 points from the time of her first test. Dr. Barkan also didn't expect Pandy to be so active this morning as she has been and so she said, hmmm this changes things a bit and let's wait. We will talk again on the phone tomorrow and she will go in for her test on Wednesday. Buffy will go in at the same time and also have a full blood work-up. Now I'm back to hoping. I tell you my nerves are just frayed but having the hope is better than not having it.

*****

I want to run the tests on Pandy one more time. I thought she would be really punked out this morning since it would have been 24 hours since she last had the IV fluids but she was playing on her scratching post and rolling with her catnip mousie when I got up. Last night she ate some pastrama (this is some kind of sliced meat thing that the vet said she liked so I ran out and got some) on her own. This morning she wouldn't eat it on her own but when I put the first few pieces in her mouth she chewed them and swallowed before saying ok, enough. She was less happy about having the fancy feast inserted and not at all happy with getting the fluids. After I gave her the fancy feast she ran to the scratching pad and scratched vigourously with her little clawless paws as if to say, this is exactly what I think you deserve. She's been being her usual snuggle-muffin self, chatting away to me and sitting in my lap or next to me, letting me know that she should be the center of attention if she thinks my attention is being pointed elsewhere like at one of the other cats, the television or the computer. When I sang to her last night she wrapped all four legs around my arm and "nursed" and then nipped me when I stopped. She is the only creature in this world who appreciates my singing. Right now she is sitting in her basket giving herself a bath. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I can't stand this.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I am going to go and pick up Pandy in just a couple of hours. The test result confirm that there is no hope. She will, however, have 24 hours of feeling like a normal little kitty and will be able to spend that time at home with me. Tomorrow in the late afternoon she and I will go back to the vet for the last time. My dear friend Kat has offered Pandy a spot beneath her orange trees in her garden and my heart is full of gratitude for this gracious and sweet gesture.

I am a bit worried about the other two cats, especially Buffy who is quite an elderly cat lady (we think somewhere around 15 or 16 years) because the fleas are still with us and on the cats and I'm worried that we could have a repetition with the parasite. With Pandy at the vet my attention was directed more at the other two and thus I was able to notice that they are still flea-infested --they were both doing a lot of licking (but not scratching) and Mischa kept jumping suddenly and racing around the room --not playing but because he'd been bitten. I put more frontline on them today and have been washing and washing all the bedding (mine and theirs) and trying to clean. I already wash the bedding once a week (both theirs and mine) but think I will start doing it every other day until the fleas are gone. I may have to try a chemical bomb in the apartment next week because the eggs can hide in apolstery, mattresses, and even cracks in the linolium for literally months before hatching out and re-infesting.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Yesterday, despite a really bad and embarrassing start (more on that in a minute), turned out to be really interesting and enjoyable. The reason? Hossein Derakshan together with Lisa Goldman gave a talk to the faculty of the Communication department of Ben-Gurion University. (BTW, Hossein has an op-ed in the New York Times today, very worth a read)

It was a very intimate affair with just the faculty members for our end of the semester celebration. Therefore, the talk really turned into a relaxed and stimulating exchange of ideas and discussion, as well as being educated about the current situation (political and social) in Iran and the Iranian (Persian) blogosphere movement. There was much discussion about the role of blogs as journalistic tools (can they be?, how do they compare with traditional forms of journalism?, how do they complement and influence traditional journalistic venues? and more), the role blogs play in building bridges of understanding between cultures, the way in which trust and subesquent respect (and often reliance on) the opinions of a blogger is established with readers and fellow bloggers,the way in which blogging communities can develop and spill over into very real world interactions and communities, and so much more. The questions and discussions kept coming until we were all late for the prepared (and so-not-tasty-kibbutz-hotel) lunch and then continued through the lunch. Poor Hossein, starving by this time, was peppered with questions and so was hard-put to eat a mouthful in peace. Everyone wanted for him to come out to the University (we held the meeting in Jerusalem) to talk more and see the campus before he goes back but, alas, he is only here for a very short time. When he comes next time (and hopefully there will be a next time :), BGU is cueing up eagerly.

Now for the embarrassing part: why is it that communications departments are so extremely, horribly, bad at communicating? This is not restricted to the BGU comm department but has been my experience at every comm department I've ever been in. There is a serious lack of communicating crucial bits of information in critical circumstances between parties. For instance, we were supposed to be picked up by a cab and ferried to the meeting in Jerusalem. On Thursday I got an email saying ok, you and the speaker are traveling together and so two other faculty can also go in the same cab, ok? No, I wrote back, not ok because it is me and Hoder and Lisa going together so we can only take one other person or you can order a mini-van cab. Next email I receive: so the occupants of the cab are you, Hoder, colleague X and collegue Y. NO, I wrote back again just before leaving for BGU in an exhausted state and reiterated the situation. Get there and the secretary is gone for the day but I expected an email had been sent in the meantime. So when I got home on thursday night I checked ---no email.

Friday morning me, Hoder and Lisa are all in the appointed place with the cab driver and we stand waiting for half an hour for the other two people who don't show up...if we leave any later we are going to be late...finally I say, ok let's go. Lisa says "better call someone and cover your ass" since we are leaving without the others. Good plan. I call the head of the department who has no clue what the situation is (and shouldn't, he is not the secretary, after all) and he gives me the secretary's number. I call her and she is like, "oh you left? you aren't waiting for them?" She gives me the number of colleague X. I call said colleague and say, where are you people? "We're on the 1.." What?? How are you on the 1? Why are you on the 1? "Didn't the secretary tell you last night that we are getting a ride with colleague Z?! She was supposed to tell you." No, no she didn't. The girls in the other car begin to discuss among themselves and to me general outrage (and were very Israeli in a confrontation with the secretary over this I've since heard).

So we continue merrily on our way. The cabbie pulls up at a kibbutz hotel, drops us off and says, "I'll pick you back up here at 2 p.m." and drives off. We turn and start to go into the hotel and then stop short...it is the wrong kibbutz. We have been dropped at the wrong place. Phone calls again. Lisa grabs the phone and makes me jealous, not only with her fantastic hebrew, but also her no-nonesense Chutzpah in demanding that they fix the situation and fix it now. Colleague Z, along with colleague Y, are dispatched to pick us up. 15 minutes later they arrive. Another 15 minutes drive later we are all (very late) where we should be, and everything begins. An inauspicious start to be sure but wow, what a fantastic talk.

Now, a question that is unrelated but very important to me (one that has taken me all day to be able to write and ask). I am going to need to make funeral arrangements for Pandy. I am not going to just let her be picked up by the city for disposal like a piece of garbage. All of the family pets that have left us are interred in the garden of our house in Austin, Texas but this is obviously not an option (though my mother suggested freezing her and sending her by plane home for burial). I am renting and don't have my own garden. Does anyone know if there are pet cemetaries or something along those lines where I can bury her and know that she won't be disturbed? I want her someplace safe and peaceful and pretty. I want to be there to bury her and to say goodbye. Any help or advice along these lines would be most appreciated.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

It doesn't look like Pandy'le is going to make it. My little Pandora is at her regular vet right now getting the very best of care. She is comfortable with a radiator right next to her to keep her warm and she was even playing a bit in the big carrier she is in when I left, play-attacking my fingers through the door. We both spent the night at the emergency vet, getting tests and having IV fluids for her. On Sunday we will know for sure what steps we have to take. There is the smallest of chances that she can recover enough to live happily and comfortably for a few more months but that is the best chance there and it is a small one. Her kidneys are simply not functioning.

Most likely, on Sunday I will pick her up and bring her home for a couple of days to let her be comfortable and happy in her familiar little spots and to hold her and love her as much as I can. Then we will make another trip to the vet and she will go to sleep.

I'm not doing real well at the moment and it has nothing to do with not having had any sleep. But I need to pull myself together and put a lecture together for my class, find notes for my meetings, and get ready to have the honour of hosting Hossein Derakhshan at the talk he will give for our faculty and students tomorrow.

I really want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support you guys have given me. It really has meant and means a lot.

Holy sh*t just read the news. The world is definitely going to hell in a handbasket. I can't process this right now, on a good day I don't think I could process this.

Kitty and I are going to the emergency vet. Something seems very very wrong with Pandy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In answer to those who have been commenting and writing me private emails about what kind of zionist I am, I'd have to say that I am a Hashomer Hatzair and Dror gal going way back. This is probably for two reasons: 1) my early identification with socialism and 2) Zivia Lubetkin. I'm including an excerpt from wikipedia about the movement (cos I don't have time to write up the history myself and we all know that the wiki is kewl) below but you can go here to read more. Ok, on to the Hashomer Hatzair explanation and history:

Hashomer Hatzair came into being as a result of the merger of two groups, Hashomer ("The Guard") a Zionist scouting group, and Ze'irei Zion ("The Youth of Zion") which was an ideological circle that studied Zionism, left wing socialism and Jewish history. Hashomer Hatzair is the oldest Zionist youth movement still in existence. Initially Marxist-Zionist, the movement was influenced by the ideas of Ber Borochov and Gustav Wyneken as well as Baden-Powell and the German Wandervogel movement. Hashomer Hatzair believed that the liberation of Jewish youth could be accomplished by aliya ("emigration") to Palestine and living in kibbutzim. After the war the movement spread to Jewish communities throughout the world as a scouting movement.

Members of the movement first settled in the British Mandate of Palestine in 1919. In 1927 the four kibbutzim founded by Hashomer Hatzair banded together to form the Kibbutz Artzi federation. The movement also formed a political party under the name Hashomer Hartzair which advocated a Binational solution in Palestine with equality between Arabs and Jews. Accordingly, Hashomer Hatzair voted against the Biltmore Program in 1942.

In 1936, Hashomer Hatzair launched a political party, the Socialist League of Palestine, to represent members and supporters of Hashomer Hatzair kibbutzim and the youth movement in the political organizations of the Yishuv (as the Jewish community in the British Mandate of Palestine was known). The Socialist League soon became known simply as Hashomer Hatzair and was the only Zionist political party to accept Arab members as equals, support Arab rights and call for a binational state in Palestine.

By 1939 Hashomer Hatzair had 70,000 members worldwide. The movement's base was in Eastern Europe. With the advent of World War II and the Holocaust members of Hashomer Hatzair changed their focus from settlement in Palestine to resistance against the Nazis. Mordechaj Anielewicz, the leader of Hashomer Hatzair's Warsaw branch, became head of the Jewish Fighting Organization and one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
****
Closely related to the Hashomer Hatzair movement (and often working in conjunction, merging at times and separating at others) is the Dror movement --of which Lubetkin was a driving force --where I've really found my home. The five guiding pillars of Dror are:

1.Progressive Labour Zionism – the belief in the state of Israel and the return to it
2. Cultural Judaism
3. Socialism – working for collective good through communal living; equality and social justice
4. Actualization (Hagshama) – acting out one's beliefs
5. Social Justice – acting in the a new social order based on the principals of self-determination, individual freedom, political democracy, and cooperative economics, the equality of all people and the equality of human value

I find my home here in Dror more so than in Hashomer Hatzair because the latter tends to be somewhat anti-relgious and while I am not religious I am not anti-religious and also because, for me, I connect to the cultural aspects of Judaism and like that emphasis. (I should note that still, when I do drag myself to a synagogue --outside of Israel-- it is always to a *cough* very traditionally-oriented one with separation of men and women, no organs or pianos and the real-deal service in hebrew. I have no problem, and indeed fully support Reform Judaism, but if I'm gonna make the effort to go I want all the traditional stuff. Chalk that up to my being a bundle of contradictions...).

I am not going to mention the kitty in this post other than to mention that I am not mentioning the kitty. Over the past couple weeks my blog has turned into episodes of "Kitty Hospital" and while it is a big part of the soap opera that is my life, enough already, unless something really good or really bad alters in her health.

I am very excited that I will soon be meeting a cool Iranian ex-pat, who also happens to be the man who single-handedly launched the Persian blogosphere, making it possible for people to blog in Farsi and, through their blogs, to by-pass the Iranian government's restrictions on information access and sharing and the free expression of ideas and opinion. Hoder is an activist for peace, for democracy, and against censorship. He is really an amazing person and an example of how just one person can help to make some major changes for the better in this world. He will be making his first trip to Israel and is doing so at personal sacrifice: he will most likely be barred from returning to Iran, at least while the present government remains in power, as a result of his trip here. Nu, go check out his site.

A post that will be coming in the near future (when I get more than 5 minutes to slap something up here) will include one (or two, or three, something like that)on why I made Aliyah and what it means to me. I had started writing this up, basically, how did I get to this spot, nearly a year ago but only put up part 1. I got stuck somehow and never got back around to finishing out that narrative. Lots of people keep asking me, and many seem confused about how one can be secular and be a zionist (hint: the zionist movement was historically a mostly secular one and a socialist-influenced secular one at that), and so I think it is time to try to put into words the what, how and why.
My email wasn't working on the page but now should be (silly me mispelled my own name in the email addy). Now I'm off to break my head on some hebrew homework.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Good day. Bad day. Good day. Bad day. It seems like it is not possible to have two good days in a row with the kitty. Everything was easy with her yesterday (well, if you count having to force-feed her every two hours --including waking up in the middle of the night to do it-- administer pills at three different times during the day and give her the subcutaneous fluids, easy). She cooperated yesterday and even played a bit last night --got on the scratching toy for just a minute but it is the first time she has shown any interest in playing in a week).

Today was so not a good day with her. She screamed -loudly --everytime I came near her, even if it was just to pet her, though of course mostly it is to shove food down her throat or a pill. Sigh. It took two hours of trying before I could give her the fluids. She shrieked like she was being killed when I first tried to insert the needle this afternoon after ulpan. I need to have 9 lives myself because she scared at least two of them away when she did that. Then she struggled too much for me to try again. So I had to sit and wait and pet and try to calm. Try again. Screeeeaaaammmm. Shit. Wait, pet, wait. Touch her back (no needle in sight) screeaaaammm. aha. touch her paw. Screeeeaaaammm. Say her name. Screeeaaammm. You get the idea. The needle hadn't hurt her, she just didn't want to be touched.

Finally insert the needle, fluids are flowing, she isn't screaming, I'm petting and then SPROING --she tried to leap off the sofa from a completely flat laying position. I grabbed little miss mid-air kitty, terrified she was going to get really hurt (she had a sharp pointy object stuck in her after all that was connected to bag of fluids hanging on the wall). Remove needle, turn off the shooting water, release a struggling and trying to bite cat.

I have two 50 page articles to write and don't know when or how to get to them. I have unfinished ulpan homework and an essay (or maybe it is two) due in ulpan this week.

I did talk to the secretary (otherwise known as the Machshefa) at ulpan today about what courses will be starting when our bet class ends at the end of february. I asked about Gimmel, specifically. Wonder of wonders I actually spoke lucidly and easily and correctly when I was asking. Wonders did not cease there, however, because she was actually nice to me and called me motek and spent 10 minutes looking up schedules for me. There may be a new gimmel course in the evening if 10 or more people from our current bet class are interested and sign up. If not I can go into the existing Gimmel in the evenings taught by Gila (who I love as a teacher) but it is already way in full swing. There is also a bet plus that will start in the evenings in march. No new bet pluses or gimmels during the day until next september though. I actually think I'd do better with an evening class at this point since I can't ever get there on time in the mornings so insanely early.

oh yeah, I'm about to have 20 25-page papers in hebrew to read and grade. I'd say I may go out of my mind but that's not possible --my mind has long since gone.

Huge bright spot in my day: I have lovely, wonderful, delicious BOILED PEANUTS!! They came (thank you Frank!!!!) and customs did not explode them or eat them :) Ok, who wants to try some...? :)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

I did it. It was successful. She didn't cry. She didn't move. I didn't cry. I barely breathed --until she started purring while I was petting her and the fluids were going drip drip drip. YES.

Now if I can just figure out how to pry the old needle out so tomorrow I can put in a fresh one. Seems I kinda jammed that thing in there pretty tight.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I feel really Israeli now: I just watched A Wonderful Country for the first time. Understood maybe 1% --no clue about the political segment (what are these people saying?!) but had a good laugh in the segment with the criminal extortioner and his persistent "we are the designated keep the building clean" people. Which reminds me, I need to pay my "keep the building clean" couple (who, of course, don't actually do anything of the sort, at least not well) before they get persistent.

Kitty has now been fluided. I'm glad I went for a second training session because I learned that I a)should not have let the air out completely because then it doesn't flow through the little dripper dealie connected to the bag --there needs to be air in that little plastic part so you can see the fluid drip through, b)that I need to pay attention to which direction the needle is with the part with the hole facing up toward me and the sharpest, pointiest part down (but parralel to her body) and c) that was scruffing her a bit too high up on the neck. I discovered that not only do cats behave better in a vet office but so do I. Having someone standing there watching you do it (who knows what they are doing) makes it impossible for you to let your wussi side come out. Home alone, the wuss comes out in force.

She ate some of the fancy feast without being forced. She had her docycline. In another two hours she will have her prednisone. Tomorrow, I will attempt to de-wuss myself and stick it to her.

Today I am going to attack my apartment because it is a disaster area.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Well everyone can stop the kol ha'kavods because the kitty EMT has to go back and get some more training. I got home and fed the healthy beastlets to keep them out of the way, changed into comfy clothing, then began the set-up operation. Emah's suggestion of a lamp was a good one but unfortunately none of mine worked when I tried to attach the back. Then I thought to take down the picture from the wall behind the sofa (appropriately, one of the famous black kitty in the french poster "Tournee du Chat Noir) and to hang it on the picture hook. Worked great. Then grabbed the kitty and got her settled. Opened the needle from its casing and inserted it into the tube, opened the tube to let out a bit of the fluid and make sure there was no air. So far so good. Scruffed the kitty loosely just to lift the skin up to the proper height and got ready to insert the needle. Just as the needle touched her --touched, mind you not yet stuck--she let out a wreoowl and twisted suddenly to get away (smart cat). As I pulled the needle back to keep from hurting her if she twisted in the direction of the needle I managed to stick myself right in the pinky of the hand that was scruffing her. Because the needle is sharp and she choose just that moment to struggle a bit more the needle went in deep. Ow. Bandaged bleeding finger, got ready to try again... and lost my nerve.

So, tomorrow morning the kitty and me and the bag of fluids are going to go to the vet around the corner and I am going to make him supervise me again on this. It is amazing how well-behaved they are when they are in a vet's office. I will learn how to do this and do it successfully. Argh. Let me say that again. Argh.

I've resorted to squirting water into her mouth for the evening in the meantime. I hate it when I am a wuss. Grrrrrr.

Uh and since I'm writing this folks back in the States, you can see I'm alive and well. Glad we had a colloquiem today and I had to be there early or I would have been in the area right about then because I'd scheduled a meeting with a student who lives here for 2:30 and had planned to head to B.S. after that meeting but ended up having to reschedule and head out much earlier. The area around the Central Bus Station was closed off after the bombing, of course, and I'm not sure I would have been able to make it in time for class. It is very lucky that it seems the bomb was defective and no one was killed. I'm hoping for a good recovery for the 32 people who were injured in the attack.

In other news that made my jaw drop, France's President, Jacque Chirac, said today that if a terrorist attack is made on French soil that France will nuke the country from which the attack emanated. Isn't this the same country that has complained about our carrying out targeted attacks against terrorists? Seems to me a targeted attack against individual terrorists is a much milder response than incinerating a whole passel of people ...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Yael --Kitty EMT in training

I love Don Radlauer and will be eternally grateful for his sending me to an amazing vet. Pandy and I got there fully 45 minutes early since I didn't know how long the trip would take and didn't want to risk being late. When we arrived and this fabulous vet looked over the vet records I brought she said, "No. She's not going to die. And there is no need to talk of putting her to sleep. We can definitely get her through this, I've seen much worse cases make a full recovery." Then, for the next hour and a half she showed me and taught me exactly what we are going to do so that Pandy makes a full recovery.

"Are you afraid of needles?" she wanted to know.

"Only when they are aimed in my direction," was my response and I'm more than willing to get over any fear I might have if it means saving my cat's life (and of course also for human beings too :).

So I learned how to insert a very large needle into my kitty's neck to give her subcutaneous fluids. The kitty didn't even wince when I inserted the needle into the skin and gave her her first dose at the vet's office. I will have to give her fluids every day for 10 days. The vet provided me with the bag of fluids and 10 disposable needles.

I will need to work out where and how to do this operation in my apartment because the bag needs to hang a couple of feet above the kitty and the kitty will need to be in my lap or resting next to me for the 10-15 minutes it will take for the fluids to drip under her skin. I am sure I will be panicking tomorrow when I have to do this for the first time unsupervised.

Pandy gets a prednisone pill every day for the next 10 days to supress her immune reaction and keep her body from attacking itself. That is the insidious part of this parasite --it makes the body attack itself instead of attacking the parasite. She will stay on the doxycline for another month to a month and a half. Her immune reaction to the parasite causes her to become anorexic --hence not wanting to eat. Thus I will need to force feed her, fancy feast because it is the easiest to get down them of all the wet foods, 4-5 times a day giving her at least a teaspoon and a half at a feeding. The vet showed me a very effective way of doing it, much like pilling a cat: turn the cat so her head is away from you, lean over her, pry her mandibles open and insert a pea-sized lump of room-temp wet food onto the back of her tongue, then hold the mouth closed and stroke the throat until she swallows. Repeat.

Thank you vet, thank you Don, and thank all of you who have been emailing me and writing notes of good wishes for the kitty and me!!!

Well, I do want to try to learn how to be an EMT (for people) but starting on animals has got to be good training :) There are a couple of folks, Jameel and AL, who are EMTs but what is the difference between an EMT and a MDA course --or are they the same thing?

The kitty is going to Ramat HaSharon today at 5. I've spent the morning getting all her test results from the vet here. Over the weekend she had perked up dramatically, running and playing, eating with gusto and drinking and just seeming to be on the road to recovery. Then on Monday she wasn't quite as lively and ate and drank less so I took her back to the vet for another anti-inflammatory shot. This time she hasn't perked back up, and last night she took a sharp turn for the worse. I was up with her almost all last night trying to get her comfortable to coax her to eat. I had to keep taking her out of the bathtub because she very much wants water but can't make herself drink --instead, she lays in the cold water getting her body all wet. I tried giving her water with the dropper but she vomited it and seemed even more miserable. She goes to her water bowl and lays beside it with both paws resting in the water. And cries. I am at my wits end. Hopefully Dr. Sigal can do something more than what the other two vets have done for her.

I am feeling horrible guilt. If she dies it will be because I have indirectly killed her. She has never been sick a day before and now, because I brought her here and exposed her to these fleas with parasites, she is in such dreadful condition. I put her in harms way. Dear g-d please let my baby cat be alright.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Life is full of little surprises. Like tonight when talking to my mother she slipped one little sentence into the conversation that took a moment for me to catch the import of and woulda knocked me onto my seat if I weren't already a-sittin.' Conversation is running along like this:

Me: the kitty blah blah blah
Mom: The house blah blah blah
Me: The weather blah blah blah
Mom: My work blah blah blah
Me: You really need to change teaching jobs after this year blah blah blah
Mom: Yes I'm starting to look now because I don't think I can have everything ready to move to Israel by August and so I will probably have to work one more year here
Me: You definitely need a.......what?
Mom: Did that take you by surprise?

Uhhhhh yep!! I just love nice surprises!

Kitty update: Pandy is eating a bit now. She's eating hard food and refusing the tasty kidney-good (really expensive) wet food I got from the vet. She started yesterday by eating some bad for you junk food (e.g. Meow mix)and then, because the vet was closed and I couldn't get the kidney-good dry version,she moved on to some pro-pan urinary tract dry (also not good but better than meow mix). Not sure if this is due to the anti-inflammatory shot she got on Thursday morning or just because she is getting better. I'm hoping for the latter but will take the first so long as she is eating!

oooo a question for those who live here. I went to the bank last night and tried to withdraw money from the caspomat. It waited a long time, said it was spitting out my money, spit out a receipt and uhhh no money. The receipt said I'd been charged .60 agronot for my transaction. Does this mean the bank now thinks I actually got money out when I didn't get any money from it? If so, how do I convince the bank that I didn't get the money and to credit it?!

I got tagged by Jameel and Yosef for Memes a while back and am finally getting around to doing them. Took a bit of footwork to find the questions Jameel sent cos it was so long ago (hey, I'm ADHD and you wonder about my procrastination and losing things?!) So here goes, starting with Jameels and then moving on to Yosef's:

7 Things I can do:
1. The splits (left, right, and straddle still after all these years)
2. Knit gloves, socks and sweaters
3. Climb a mountain without proper mountain climbing gear (ok, so I didn't realize I was doing the climb on the wrong side of the mountain until I got to where I couldn't go back and had only the choice of going...up)
4. Jump out of an airplane (with parachute)
5. Talk and cry my way out of 7 speeding tickets in the U.S. and two jaywalking tickets here in Tel Aviv giving me a ticketless record for life so far
6. write fantasy fiction
7. Move to a foreign country

7 Things I can't do:
1. Speak Hebrew
2. Finish knitting a complete pair of gloves or socks in the same year
3. Sing at all in tune or anywhere close to where that tune might have wandered
4. Finish a paper or anything else by deadline
5. Walk past a starving cat without feeding it
6. learn to program in C
7. Get to ulpan on time

7 Things I constantly say:
1. Sorry, sorry
2. That was due today?!
3. Slicha, ani lo midaberet ivrit tov
4. Like
5. I love you
6. I'll get to it immediately, I promise
7. Where did I put that....?

7 Things I'd like to do in my lifetime:
1. Have children and live to see them married and happy
2. Learn to speak hebrew and without an accent
3. publish a fiction book
4. Learn to be an EMT and volunteer my time and services (without fainting)
5. Stop smoking
6. Convince at least 10 people of the importance of Aliyah and see them settled here happily
7. Learn how to really cook

Now on to Yosef's:

Four jobs I've had in my life: Salesgirl at a coffee shop, Dishwasher, Gymnastics instructor, Assistant professor.

Four movies I could watch over and over: Bringing Up Baby, Silence of the Lambs, The Others (watched this one something like 20 times), The Lord of the Ring Trilogy.

Four places I've lived: New Orleans, Egham England, Konstanz Germany, Athens, Georgia (to name uh just 4)

Four TV Shows I love to watch: Oh dear, I actually don't have any to put here because I haven't watched tv regularly in years. Hmm from the tv dvd collection: Star Trek Next Generation, Jeeves and Wooster, The X Files, Dr Who

Four places I've been on vacation: Western Europe (all over, including Paris, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, Venice, Milan, London, Isle of Skye, Edinburough, Stochholm, and lots of small places in-between), Tromso Norway, Hawaii, British Columbia.

Four websites I visit daily: Ynet, Haaretz, New York Times, Google.

Four of my favorite foods: Indian food (any of the vegetarian fare), Hummus (but only the real Israeli stuff), black olives (can eat a can for breakfast), pizza (cheese, green olves, mushrooms, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes yummmm!)

Four places you'd rather be: Eilat (warmth, warmth), Mount Herman (if I gotta freeze at least I could do it while learning to ski), a cozy cafe in Tel Aviv rather than on my cold little couch, another cozy cafe in Tel Aviv.

Four books I'll read over and over again: Pride and Prejudice (aha and it is just about time to get that one out along with a pot of tea and a pile of blankets --my winter must), The entire Robert Jordan Wheel of Time Series (11 of 12 books out so far), Waffenschwestern, Ender's Game

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Kitty update: Pandy'le still isn't eating real food but she did lap up, with a good deal of enthusiasm, some tuna-water early this afternoon and this evening. I have been loath to give her tuna water because tuna is very hard on the kidneys and her kidneys have been affected by this "not exactly a virus and not exactly a bacterial" infection. She drank a lot of water today --in fact is drinking some now after first doing her habitual "insert the paw into the bowl and splash a ton of water on the floor" routine. It is very cute but uhhh messy. She has been slightly less lethargic today, not just sitting hunched over perched on something. Well she sits hunched over and perched on something when I am not here (I think, since she is not feeling well she wants to be as protected from the other cats as possible) but since I got home has wanted to be with me, either on my lap, next to me, or walking around in my vicinity. I called my vet back in the States and he said "it is going to take time for the antibiotics to kick in, she won't die from not eating before friday so just wait and see."

I haven't been feeling up to snuff today myself, though I did have a good ulpan day for once. After I got back and gave "no longer Fatty 2" her tuna water I took a hot bath because I got soaked to the skin coming home and was freezing. This, of course, caused another bathroom flood because I forgot to let the water out liat liat. Thankfully I have the luxury of having a dryer and so pulled out lovely warm clothing to put on. Then Pandy and I laid down together "for 10 minutes" and I woke up at 5!

I need to get a pasta strainer because, for the second night in a row, half the pasta in the pot managed a great escape into the sink when I attempted to drain it with the pot lid. Am having some fake chicken soup with pasta in it to fight the cold rainy night and my blahs.

I accepted Lisa's challenge and posted something kind of political (an only in Israel! political issue) on my hebrew blog. She noted that very few people talk about issues beyond what they did that day in their hebrew blogs. Well, I'm as guilty of that as any but, thanks to an ulpan essay assignment, today I ventured into ooooo an issue post. We've been having a debate in class about just who is a Jew and who should be "allowed" to be a Jew and of course the whole demographics issue and so forth and the majority of the class just wants to beat the stuffing out of an extremely annoying and ignorant guy who takes a very conservative stance -- and who is quite offensive in many other ways. He's managed to offend nearly everyone in the class with one comment or another.

So not looking forward to the trek to Beer Sheva tomorrow especially with this weather!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

They kitty is seriously stressing me out. She hasn't eaten anything since Saturday morning and then not a lot. Yesterday morning when I gave her her pill she yakked it up almost immediately but it was the only thing she yakked since she had nothing in her tummy. So yesterday after ulpan I took her back to the vet and explained that she wasn't eating but that she was drinking water (I witnessed the water drinking, though still less than usual) and that she is becoming lethargic again. Also, she has a bald spot (rapidly getting very big) over one eye and another on the back of her neck (very small still) and that is new. He took a skin sample and looked at it under the microscope and then said there didn't appear to be anything abnormal causing it but also didn't say why she has started losing her hair there. He said to make sure she gets her pills and to bring her back in on friday morning if she is still not eating. It seems to me that an entire week without eating would be very dangerous for a cat, particularly one fighting an infection! These are very small little creatures. She is still refusing food today although she kept her pills down so far. If she hasn't eaten by tomorrow I'm taking her to a different vet (and going into deeper debt --likely another 800 shekels worth). I don't know what else to do!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I've done something tonight I've never done before: I deleted comments. That is something I am really loathe to do. One set of comments I deleted at the commenter's request; I have zero problems with this. Another set set I deleted because I got an instant headache when I began scrolling through (and through, and through). This particular commenter has been warned before. The final one I deleted was one that was just ugly any way you look at it and I applaud everyone for not responding to it. I hope I never have to delete comments again. This is not a political blog and while posts of mine sometimes do touch on political topics --yes, I do live in the world and am touched by things political --it is not a blog for political debate, particularly if that debate is going to be carried out in a ranting or vitriolic or disrespectful manner. I am not going to say anymore on the subject.

Today was a long day. I just got home from Beer Sheva about 30 minutes ago. I missed the train because so many students had questions after class and so had to wait almost an hour for the next one. Then, the train was a bit late, meaning I missed the bus and had to wait...nearly an hour for it. Thought about taking a taxi home but, having just opened my "this is how much you made" salary statement uh no way. Remember how I was so excited when I got that paycheck in December and was like, wow if this is for one month I am doing so well but if it is for two months I am soooooooo toast? Well, just add a coffee and I'm breakfast.

Ulpan news: Our teacher Ruti got pitra (e.g. fired, sacked, tossed). An awesome friend of mine was awesome enough to go to the secretary and get a "you can go into any class you want" card for me on my behalf today. Anyone who has had to deal with Miri knows that such a thing is no easy task. THANK YOU!!

My apartment is an abysmal disaster. My finger is better, though still hurts. I plan to break the doctor's instructions and mop in the morning because not only can I not stand it any longer but I am having a distinguished guest. Oh and she can ride up in the elevator to see me...Heh, and tell me if it makes it. LOL, it got fixed yesterday but after seeing the workmen and hearing the workmen I'm not sure I wanna get in it.

And oh, good G-d, almost forgot to mention it I'm so nackered: "the boy" called. Hmmm he sounds nice on the phone. He's calling again this weekend (he called just as the train was arriving and so it was kind of hard to talk and hear).

I'm thinking about our prime minister and just trying against all odds to be optimistic for his recovery. Everyone at school was asking, what news, what news, but no one had any. There isn't really any to have yet. Sharon is a fighter and if anyone can come through this it is a man like this. Whether you agree with his politics (now or those he engaged in prior), whether you agree with his vision (current or past), he is a man deserving of respect and a man who has shaped our nation like few others have and almost since its inception.

Finally, I love this country. I love my life. Poor, confused, de-languaged, developing an elevator phobia and a Noah complex, accompanied by flea-ridden cats that cost the farm to feed and vet, I have still never been happier.

Oh no. Sharon suffers significant stroke. This is one of those times this very non-religious girl dusts off a few prayers.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Tuesday night:

After typing the update on Pandy (below) I headed out to meet with ulpan friends for coffee down on Rothschild Street at the famous choco-holics spot. Then several of us went to the shuk and bought various vegetables. Kat and Courtney were negligent in their duties and didn't scream "put your money away, you don't need it!" when I also bought a cute light, tight, sweater top. But what can I say, it was orange.

Then I rushed home and changed into nice attire (conservative skirt, sweater) and brushed my hair and then zipped to the kipat cholim. I now have an official "rofe mishpacha" --family doctor. I hired him on the spot when he said he could painlessly get me to quit smoking by this summer. Ok, I'm trying him. We'll see. Maybe the man has a few miracles up his sleeve, no? :) So now I have to go back and have a blood test done and then go back to him in 2 weeks. I also have a script for penicillin for the bite I got from the kitty but he said I may not need it and to wait to see if the swelling has gone down by tomorrow. If it hasn't I should fill it and start taking it.

Oh, really nice occurance: While waiting (and counting the seconds as they ticked by and thinking dear l-rd I'm going to be late, late late) for the doctor I tried to figure out just where in the heck the mother of "the boy" (see post from last week) lives. Her street wasn't on my map --not a very good one, just one I ahem, borrowed from my hotel room when i first got here. So I asked the nice old gentleman sitting next to me if he knew where it was. I was finding it maddening because I know I have been on that street before ...but where in Tel Aviv? He was having the same experience. He turned to a middle-aged man who had just arrived to wait and the man held up a finger and began dialing on his cell-phone. I thought he meant, wait I'll get to you in a minute but have to make a call first. But no. He was calling someone to find out exactly where the street was and how to get to it. Then he relayed the information to me and his directions turned out to be perfect! How nice is that??!

From the kipat cholim I raced to the house of the mother of "the boy." It was just the mother of the boy and me. The boy didn't come. The mother made excuses ..."oh, my son has been meaning to call you all week, he is so interested to meet you, but he has been so busy. He wanted to come tonight but he had a class. He even considered missing the class but I told him no, you need to attend your class." And so forth. Yeeeeeeeeuuuuupppp. Oy. She had made quite a nice little tea for us and was very sweet. I was so glad to escape.

Pandy is definitely feeling better. She mewed and rolled on her back on the floor when I came home. That is a very good sign!

Tuesday morning:

quick update on the kitty: she is home but still quite sick. She has a blood pathogen caused by being bitten by fleas thar has caused anemia and near renal (kidney) failure. She is on antiobiotics (pilling her is proving difficult as my hour long struggle with her this morning showed but that is partly because I am working kinda one-armed) and a special kidney-healthy food and has to be watched closely. Vet bill came to 800 sheks (I nearly cried) and she's going to have to go back in for more bloodwork in a week to make sure she is getting over this. My cats have never had fleas before but in the last couple of weeks I noticed them all scratching a lot. They all have to be treated with some de-fleaing stuff.

I had to get a tetanus shot yesterday and was happy to find that I've gained enough weight to have it in the arm --my first ever arm shot :) The doctor who gave it to me was fantastic. I told her I have a terror of shots and she was like well just look over here and kept talking to me and rubbing alcohol stuff on the arm and then was like, ok. I was ok what? "It's finished." What?! I didn't even feel it and and was still waiting for that horrid jab. But while the shot didn't hurt at all, I can barely lift my arm this morning and it is very sore. I'm typing one-handed because the finger is in a big bandage. I was very proud that I did the whole doctor thing in hebrew :) I have to go back today to get the antibiotics for me because the dr didn't want to risk an allergic reaction with the tetanus shot combination.

I went directly to get Pandy from the kipat cholim and carried her home in my backpack in my arms -the vet is just around the corner. When I got to my building I felt something very wet coming from the backpack. Yep all those fluids she was pumped up with couldn't take the joggling of being carried. Poor little critter. But poor me too, because by the time I got the door open and her up the stairs --damn that elevator! --I was soaked with cat pee from waist to shoes. Not to mention my school books in the backpack with her. So who wants to sit nxt to me in ulpan tomorrow? *grin*

Monday, January 02, 2006

My kitty, Pandy, is in the kitty hospital tonight. She has been extremely lethargic and off her food for several days. Then last night and this morning she wouldn't eat at all, just growling and hissing at the food when I put it in front of her. So I scooped her up and took her to the vet.

This turned into a major ordeal for both her and me. Upon examining her, the vet proclaimed that she is anemic, dehydrated, and has a slight jaundice to her eyes --we don't know why yet. He needed to take blood from her and give her an IV of fluids and antibiotics. When he tried to take her blood she did not cooperate at all. I was holding her tightly by the scruff of the neck for him but she struggled so much he couldn't keep the needle in her leg. He sedated her and we tried again. He inserted the needle 9 times without being able to get enough of a sample from her and then she bit the hell out of me. Well the poor little thing --it is very painful what he was doing, he told me and to do it 9 times without success in a row! (My cat obviously takes after me: the last time I had to have a shot --it was a rabies shot--I kicked the nurse. It was totally a reflex. How embarrassing! I won't go into the details of why I had to have a rabies shot, more accurately shots, because that is even more embarrassing).

So then he had to completely put her under and shave the other arm and try again. After two more tries (this time it was just his ineptitude because she was completely zonked) he was able to get enough of a sample to send to the lab. He is keeping her overnight for observation. I am quite worried about what could be making her so sick.

My own finger is now swollen from the bite and quite painful. Ow.

I spent four hours tonight trying to figure out when one should use the hitpael vs piel vs pual version of a verb. I was not successful. Damned if I know. Well ok, there are some instances in which it seems clear (though I'm probably wrong about those too) but most the time I am just completely clueless.