Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tummy Tuesday 6

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Her Ladyship:

Her Ladyship’s fuzzy tummy

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tuxxie in the Garden

A lovely tux in the garden of a Jerusalem apartment building:

Tuxxie in the garden

(Catch this week’s Friday Ark at The Modulator. The next Carnival of the Cats will be at Catymology this coming Sunday.)

Paging Nardo

I need to ask Laurence Simon whether I can borrow Nardo for a bit. There’s a lizard in the bathtub!

Lizard in the bathtub

I caught and released the lizard outside in the end. Sorry, Nardo.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tummy Tuesday #5

Meet Mr. Meezer, a cat who lives near my workplace:

Mr. Meezer

Mr. Meezer enjoys a good skritch. More on that later.


This week’s Carnival of the Cats is up at Red Peonies.

Haveil Havalim is up at A Barbaric Yawp.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Kitties Beat the Heat

We’ve been having some very hot weather here in Jerusalem. Her Ladyship and Missy are dealing with it as best they can.

Her Ladyship on the relatively cool stone of the front path:

Her Ladyship on the path

Missy in the grass:

Missy in the grass

(Check out the hundredth edition of the Friday Ark at The Modulator. The next Carnival of the Cats will be up at Red Peonies.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tummy Tuesday #4

Here is Missy in a demure tummy pose:

Missy in a demure tummy pose


Next week I get my crown, finally.

Last week, I cut a thirteen-and-a-half-inch braid from my hair and donated it to Zichron Menachem, an organization that helps children who have cancer and their families. It will go toward making wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy. So bye-bye, braidie, but not for long—I’m growing out my hair again. (Well, it was about time—I think I was the last woman in my immediate family to make a hair donation.)

Earlier this week, I had an interesting and great recording session. If there’s anything further to report about it, I will.

And now I have some mending to do and a soap batch to make. Well, shampoo bars, actually—but I’d better get busy.

Ha-baita: Going Home

The Hebrew word bayit means—among other things—“home.” The Hebrew word ha-baita, which means “homeward,” is the theme being played exclusively right now on Radio 3, the national Israeli radio station that plays only Israeli music. Just about every song Radio 3 is playing right now speaks of the joy and relief of coming back home after having been away. Kama tov she-bata ha-baita—it’s so good you’re home. Ani hozer ha-baita (actually, a translation of a popular Italian song, I believe)—I’m on my way home. Yonatan, sa ha-baita—Yonatan, head home. One after another, popular and beloved Israeli songs about coming home, going home, being home. Soldiers coming home from Lebanon, residents of the northern region coming back from the places throughout the country where they had taken refuge from the rockets. Ha-baita. Home.

(You can listen to Radio 3—“Reshet Gimmel” in Hebrew—over the Internet here. Just click the flashing orange/white speaker on the bottom right portion of the banner, toward the middle.)

Today after work, I was supposed to join a friend in singing for people from a northern community who were staying in her area. I got a message from her this morning: the performance is off because the audience got to go home. It’s the best reason for cancelling a gig that I can think of!

Yet in the middle of all this is the grim knowledge that this is only a temporary break. Since our hands were tied before we had the chance to deal properly with the enemy, they will be back. And once that happens, I think it will be a long time before the radio station returns to its relieved and joyful theme of ha-baita.

See Treppenwitz for an excellent analysis (as usual).

I know that this sounds pessimistic. But I honestly don’t see any other outcome at this point.

So in the meantime I’ll listen to all this beautiful Hebrew music and pray that I will soon be eating my words.

But I don’t think so. Not really.


Haveil Havalim #82 is up at Soccer Dad.

Carnival of the Cats #125 is up at Blog d’Elisson.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Cat Photos

A view of the garden, as Her Ladyship stretches out to enjoy the shade:

Her Ladyship in the garden

Lady Blue Eyes:

Lady Blue Eyes

Missy in the planter:

Tail alert

Tail alert!

Missy in the planter

A lionkitty near work:


Catch the Friday Ark up at The Modulator. Next week’s Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by the beautiful Hakuna and Matata over at Blog d’Elisson.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

By the North, For the North

Today, a friend of mine sent me a link to Keren Ezra L’Tzafon. Their premise is an excellent one: By the North, For the North.

While suppliers throughout Israel have offered to help the residents of the North, our campaign is to support local businesses by having them supply the necessary goods. Kibbutz Lavi and other local caterers have been cooking and transporting the meals while grocery stores, toy stores, and pizza shops have been commissioned to provide their merchandise. In this way, donations serve a dual charitable purpose: supporting those whose income was cut off and providing individuals with basic needs.

You can send Keren Ezra L’Tzafon a donation here.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tummy Tuesday #3

A neighborkitty shows off his lovely tummy:

A neighborcat’s lovely tummy

Chemistry, Revisited

Years ago, I heard of a simple and economical way to polish silver that uses baking soda, hot water and aluminum foil. Today, I decided to try it for the first time.

Here’s what I did:

In one container, I combined several tablespoons of baking soda with about a liter of boiling water. Then I poured the mixture into a saucepan with a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom. Finally, I put the items that I wanted to polish inside and let them soak for fifteen to twenty minutes.

When I took the items out of the saucepan, I washed them off with a bit of detergent. They’re now gleaming like new.

My chemistry teacher would be proud.

OK, This Blog Is Usually Pretty Easygoing, But ...

Sometimes something happens that really annoys me. Like now.

To the person who just link-spammed me: You have just done one of the two things that are guaranteed to get your comment automatically deleted and yourself banned from commenting on this blog ever again. (The other is behaving like a troll.)

It is obvious that you do not read my blog, and that the only reason you commented here was to push your way of thinking and get a free link.

You know what? Gambling sites do that. Pr0n sites do that. It’s dishonest. It’s slimy. If your site purports to be above that sort of thing, then you should be all the more careful to steer clear of such techniques.

I’ve seen your link-spam on other bloggers’ sites. How they choose to respond to it is their business. Me, I won’t tolerate it.

Don’t even think of trying it again here. Ever.

Monday, August 07, 2006

This Week’s Dose of Cats and Jews

This week, the Carnival of the Cats is back home at Laurence Simon’s place.

Haveil Havalim is up at Perspectives of a Nomad.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Way Down Yonder in the Catnip Patch

The cats were in the yard when I came home from work yesterday. My camera batteries ran out of juice during the photo shoot, and when I changed them, it turned out that the ones in the pouch didn't have any energy either. I missed what would have been a great picture of Her Ladyship and Missy wrestling near the catnip patch. Oh, well. I guess it’s time for a set of new rechargeables.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures I got. First, Her Ladyship near the catnip patch:

Her Ladyship

Missy yawns, showing her pretty white teeth:

Missy yawns

Finally, a cat on either side of the catnip patch.

Cats on either side of the catnip patch

Click any image for an enlarged version.

(Catch the Friday Ark at The Modulator. This week, the Carnival of the Cats returns to the home of its founder, Laurence Simon.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tisha be-Av

Recently I began reading Herman Wouk’s wonderful book, This Is My God. Published in 1959 and thirteen years in the making, it is an explanation of Judaism’s beliefs and practices written for a contemporary American audience. It is a delightful book, informing and explaining with warmth, humor, humility and scholarship.

This is the beginning of Wouk’s section on Tisha be-Av, the sad and somber fast day that Jews begin observing tonight:

You might call this day the Pearl Harbor of Jewry. The Babylonians on the Ninth of Ab, 586 b.c., broke into the Temple of Solomon and sacked it. Six hundred years later, on the same date, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple. This fatal coincidence linking the nation’s two greatest disasters has left an ineradicable scar on the memory of the Jews.

The section’s final paragraph takes on grim significance in light of current events:

Some have argued that, with the birth of modern Israel, mourning for the fall of Zion has become an anachronism. But the Jewish national memory is long. It is not likely that the grim date of the capture of Jerusalem and the ruin of two temples will be forgotten.

There is a spot in the Old City at the base of the Western Wall (not in the prayer area, but in the section that extends to the adjacent archaeological gardens) where the destruction that the Romans perpetrated can still be clearly seen. The huge stone blocks that Roman soldiers threw from the top of the Temple Mount still lie at the base of the wall in the cracks and craters that they created in the ancient sidewalk below. The marks of burning are still plain on many of them.

The first time I read Wouk’s description of Tisha be-Av, the thought occurred to me that if he were writing the book today, he might well have referred to Tisha be-Av as the 9/11 of Jewry. For me, these pictures strengthen the similarity.

The long view:

Temple ruins in Jerusalem’s Old City

From closer up:

Temple ruins in Jerusalem’s Old City

From closer up at another angle:

A closer view of the ruins

Yet Tisha be-Av, for all its sorrow, contains the seeds of hope. Here are Tristram’s grackles in a cleft in the wall:

Tristram’s grackles in a cleft in the wall

Spring flowers among the ruins:

Spring flowers among the ruins

Since the final verse of the Book of Lamentations is far from hopeful, and since we prefer to end things on a positive note even on the saddest day of the Jewish year, we read the penultimate verse twice:

הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ, ה', אֵלֶיךָ וְנַשׁוּבָה; חַדֵּשׁ יָמֶינוּ כְּקֶדֶם.

Take us back, O Lord, to Yourself, and let us come back; renew our days as of old!

An easy fast to all who are fasting today, and a meaningful day to everyone.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


As soon as I heard about the fatal shooting attack at the Jewish Federation building in Seattle, I e-mailed two friends of mine: one whose son moved to Seattle some time ago and another who lives there herself. They’re both fine, though my friend’s son was about two blocks away when the attack took place.

In response to Treppenwitz’s question: Yes, I think that the perpetrator is a terrorist. It will be for a judge to decide whether he is competent to stand trial, and if he is tried, it will be for a jury to determine whether he was sane at the time of the attack.

Yet whatever this creep’s mental state may have been at the time, he committed an act of terrorism, just like the shooting at the El Al counter at Los Angeles International Airport. At first, the powers that be did not want to admit that the LAX attack was an act of terror, but in the end, they had to. Perhaps now they’ll wake up a bit faster ... though not fast enough for the victims.

These days I’m remembering the co-worker who, back in 1988, argued vigorously that antisemitism was dead.

I wonder what he’s thinking now.

The Sapper Robot

My walk to the bus stop after work takes me through a beautiful, quiet neighborhood. Usually, the walk is uneventful, but today it was a bit different. As I was walking to the bus stop, this is what I saw:

Sapper robot inside police van

It’s a police van containing a remote-controlled sapper robot, which drags suspicious objects away from crowded areas and detonates them. Every so often, police officers and soldiers will stop passersby on the street and tell them, “Stop! You can’t go any farther. You have to stay here—there’s a hefetz hashud [suspicious object].” When that happens, we watch the sapper van pull up as police officers open its rear doors, lowering the ramp so that the robot can roll to the street to begin its work. Eventually, the police give the all-clear, usually after the sharp boom of the sapper robot detonating the cause of all the trouble and delay. Traffic resumes on both street and sidewalk and we go on our way, sparing a thought for the poor schnook who will be turning up later on, searching frantically for his backpack only to find that it was taken for a suspicious object and blown to smithereens.

Israelis have been sensitive about suspicious-looking objects for decades, and with good reason. From time to time, the television channels broadcast public-service announcements reminding people to avoid and report suspicious objects; signs on buses warn people to pay attention to their surroundings and report any abandoned items. Parcels from the post office come with a bright red sticker in Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian warning customers not to open them if they do not recognize the return address or are not expecting a package. Occasionally I hear someone calling out in a public place, or I call out myself: “Whose bag/box/backpack is this?” until somebody claims it. It’s a part of living in Israel that one gets used to fairly quickly.

I happened to pass by at the end of the incident, as the police officers were packing the robot back into the van and preparing to leave. Apparently, there was no danger this time.

I guess that someone in that quiet neighborhood saw a suspicious object and reported it. I’m glad they did, even if it turned out to be an innocent item in the end. One can never be too careful, especially now.

(Read about Jerusalem’s bomb squad here.)

Carnivals, a Little Late

This week’s Carnival of the Cats is up at The Scratching Post, and Haveil Havalim is up at Soccer Dad.

Tummy Tuesday #2

It’s Tummy Tuesday #2!

(I missed the first one.)

Here is a pic of Her Ladyship’s furry tummy:

Her Ladyship’s tummy

Meryl and Lair have posted their contributions as well.

There is no such thing as too many cat pictures.

Incipient Coronation

No, I didn’t suddenly discover that I have royal blood. I’m in the process of getting a crown for one of my upper front teeth.

It’s been a long and difficult haul, not only for myself but also for my excellent and long-suffering dentist. I must confess that it’s my own darn fault. I waited a very long time, far too long, to get this crown. But better late than never. The process is under way, and soon I’ll have a nice new crown in there to replace the dead, discolored tooth that was there before.

The process has been very interesting. Mostly it involves long minutes, and sometimes hours, in the dentist’s chair, enduring the motion of the drill with its bits of various sizes, textures and accompanying sounds. And don’t even ask me about the anesthetic injections. All right, they do their job, but man, does that needle ever hurt!

The most interesting part of this journey took place several days ago, when my dentist sent me to the dental lab that he works with. There, the technicians literally construct new teeth. I watched, fascinated, as Oved, the technician I went to see, took out his color-matching charts to find the appropriate color for my crown. He graciously allowed me to take a picture of the charts and of his work station, and here they are.

The charts:

Crown color replacement chart

The work stations:

Work stations at the dental lab

When I left, I walked around the building, which is contructed on a hill in a northern Jerusalem neighborhood, and enjoyed the following views:

Jerusalem view

Northern Jerusalem view

Northern Jerusalem view

My dentist’s office is sixteen floors up in downtown Jerusalem, with a breathtaking view. Maybe I’ll get a picture from there soon.