Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

All right, yes, I haven’t celebrated Halloween in years. Nevertheless...

What can a song that Tom Lehrer wrote for the children’s program The Electric Company possibly have to do with Halloween, you may ask?

Listen patient-ly to the end and you will know.


(It’s got a nice klezmer flavor, doesn’t it?)

Green Oranges in the Shuk

Sometimes an image just jumps up and grabs you. This one did: the interplay between green and orange. Plus, I am crazy about the Mahane Yehuda market in any case.

Fruit and color

Missy: Three Views

Taking a nibble:

Missy takes a nibble



Here I am!

Here I am

Her Ladyship is much improved. She will have to take medicine for only a few more days—for a total of two weeks since her eye injury was discovered—and the vet is pleased with her progress.

Wonder of wonders, Her Ladyship still likes me! (I haven’t succeeded in getting new pictures of her yet, but I will do it as soon as possible.)

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It’s Still Not Too Late

... to vote in the American Presidential elections.

Head on over to Vote from Israel.

Good News

Excellent news, actually.

My friend told me that when the vet examined Her Ladyship this morning, he said that we caught the problem at the right time and that she’s going to be fine. Just a few more days of medicine (which my friend will be giving her now that she’s back), and that’s it.

I’ll post new photos of Her Ladyship as soon as I can get some.

Thank goodness. What a relief.

(Catch the 214th edition of the Friday Ark at The Modulator.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Update on Her Ladyship: Improvement

Her Ladyship appears to be on the mend. She’s no longer keeping her eye closed, and though she’s unhappy about being kept indoors, she seems to be doing fine.

I have loved Her Ladyship since the first day I knew her, but over the past few days I’ve begun to discover how special she really is. When I administer her eye medications—eye drops followed by ointment ten to fifteen minutes later—she flinches and complains, but never once has she used claws or teeth. I believe that she wants to cooperate. I start out by petting and reassuring her, and then administer the medicine as quickly as possible. Then I follow up with more petting, tell her what a wonderful cat she is and how much I love her, and give her treats.

I’m going to call the vet early tomorrow morning and ask if I can take her in for a quick look, just to make sure that things are progressing the way they ought.

This is stressing me, I confess. I can’t wait till Her Ladyship is completely recovered and this is behind us. If all goes well, it should only be a few more days.

UPDATE: We have a follow-up appointment at the vet’s on Friday.

Further update, Wednesday, October 22nd: My friend is coming home a day earlier than she had originally planned, so at some point tomorrow my current cat-sitting duties will be over. From what I can tell, Her Ladyship’s eye is looking much better.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Expect the Unexpected

When my friend—the human companion of Her Ladyship and Missy—left yesterday for a business trip, she asked me to cat-sit. I agreed gladly. I’ve cat-sat for them many times before and see them frequently in any case. They trust me, and they know I love them.

When I headed over this morning to feed and check on them, I noticed that Her Ladyship seemed to be having trouble with one of her eyes. It looked like she had conjunctivitis, but I couldn’t be sure. I called my friend on her cellphone and left a message that Her Ladyship and I were headed to the vet.

Since I couldn’t find my friend’s cat carrier, I improvised with her market basket. Her Ladyship didn’t resist when I put her in, since this is the basket that she often jumps into for a ride home with her mom. (I’m sure that she was also feeling a bit sluggish because of her eye, poor thing.)

In the basket

We caught a cab for the short ride to the clinic, to save stress for both of us. Once we arrived, there were a few patients ahead of us, so we settled down to wait. It didn’t take long until Her Ladyship was in the vet’s capable, compassionate hands.

In the vet's good hands

She didn’t have conjunctivitis. She had a scratch on the cornea. Apparently, Her Ladyship, who is an indoor-outdoor cat, had gotten into a fight within the past day or so. “It’s a good thing you brought her in today,” the vet told me. “Without treatment, she could lose the eye.”

Though that made me shiver, Her Ladyship won’t be losing a thing. After bringing her back home, I headed straight to the pharmacy for the eye drops and ointment she needs. The vet showed me how to administer them.

He also said that Her Ladyship can’t go outside for a week, so she’s now an indoor cat. But not to worry: she has everything she needs indoors.

Here’s Her Ladyship being caressed by the vet after her exam. What a brave girl.

Good kitty

I’ll be checking on her frequently and giving her lots of love and attention, and of course her medication (and treats!). She’s going to be just fine.

UPDATE, October 24: Check out this later post. Her Ladyship is out of danger and is going to be fine.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It’s the Little Things that Get You

Yup. The very little things.

I got my absentee ballot a few days ago. Today I voted and got it ready to mail. As I was about to affix the stamp—all the while congratulating myself for having bought a few stamps in advance for letters to the US in order to save myself more trips to the post office—I suddenly got the feeling that I ought to look up the current rates on the Israel Postal Service website and make sure that I had the right amount.

And wouldn’t you know it... the price of sending a letter to the US has gone up by the grand, enormous sum of five agorot. (For my overseas readers, an agora is one one-hundredth of a shekel.)

Which means that after work tomorrow (yes, I do have work tomorrow even though it is hol ha-mo’ed), I get to stand on line at the post office in order to buy a five-agorot stamp.


Good thing I checked.

UPDATE: Turns out that the site was wrong, and the price went up by quite a bit more than five agorot. But no matter. I bought the additional postage and sent out my ballot (thanks to A. for signing as a witness that I mailed it today!), and that’s what counts.

Jerusalem Photos

Taken from a street in the Rehavia neighborhood. In the foreground, the Monastery of the Cross. In the background, the residential buildings constructed some years ago overlooking Patt Junction, where the Holyland Hotel used to be.

Old and new

Some more pictures from around town are below the jump.

An election poster for Meir Porush’s campaign. I find it odd that he is using what looks like a cartoon caricature of himself instead of a photograph. I heard that the idea is to make him look less threatening, to convey the message that he’s a friendly guy even if he is Haredi. To me, a cartoon image of a candidate, regardless of who he is or what he represents, only makes the campaign looks like it is not serious.

Election poster

A facsimile lock on the front of a building, near what used to be a locksmith’s shop. The shop is now gone, but the lock is still there.

Facsimile lock

Downtown Jerusalem at dawn. This reminds me of Wordsworth’s famous sonnet, except that Jerusalem doesn’t have a river, gliding at its own sweet will or otherwise.

Downtown Jerusalem in the dawn

Finally, the Central Bus Station as seen from Rehavia. (In the larger versions of this photo, the clock can be seen fairly clearly.)

Jerusalem's Central Bus Station

Be sure to catch the next JPix Carnival, up this week at Leora’s.

Two Grays, One Tabby

The gray cat and the tabby cat are friends, possibly even related. The other gray cat is definitely a close relative. These cats are part of the colony that lives near a restaurant downtown.

(Click on the image for a larger version.)

Gray and tabby 6

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Market Calico

This is the calico kitty who lives in the market. I’ve posted her picture here before. She’s spayed, appears cared for, is very friendly... but I would still love to take her away from all that.

The market calico

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Missing the Stop

I went to Zelig’s shiva tonight. (By the way, I find shiva visits terribly frustrating. The person I want to see the most isn’t there, and never will be again.)

The bus stop where I waited for the bus home is a bit strange—or, more accurately, the route gets a bit strange there. The bus turns onto the street (at one of the biggest intersections in the city, incidentally), stops at the bus stop, turns right and proceeds to go in a large circle. Some minutes later, it turns back onto the same street, but doesn’t stop at the stop this time. Instead, it turns left, up the hill toward the center of town.

Got that so far? Good.

So I’m waiting at the stop for quite some time, and when the bus I’m waiting for finally shows up, the driver catches my eye... and goes on by without stopping.

At this point I have a choice: I can wait twenty minutes for the next bus, or I can hike up the hill to the next stop and hope that I get there before the bus finishes its circle down below.

I decided to take the gamble and head up the hill. Luckily, I got there in time.

When the bus came, I got on and asked the driver: “Why didn’t you stop back there?”

“Go sit down,” he ordered.

I wasn’t having any of that. I insisted, “You saw me. You knew I was there. Why didn’t you stop?”

He ignored me.

All right, I thought. Act like a jerk, pay the jerk tax. Aloud I said, “I want your name and personal number, please.”

He pushed a button on his ticket machine and printed out a small slip of paper. It contained his employee number, but not his name.

I went to the bus company’s website and filled out a complaint form. We’ll see what happens.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The JPIX Carnival

The nineteenth edition of the JPIX Carnival is up at Me-Ander.

Batya, thanks for including so many of my photos!

(I hope to post more photos next week. This week, I just couldn’t do it.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I used to joke with my friend Zelig Leader that he reminded me of the Woman of Valor of the last chapter of Proverbs, who “gives a portion to her maidens”—the able household manager who assigns them their daily tasks. It was Zelig who would email or call every month to tell me which section of the weekly Torah portion he wanted me to read at the special minyan—which became known in time as the Leader Minyan and is the forerunner of what is known as the “partnership minyan” today—that he, his brother and his son founded nearly twenty years ago. After I read, Zelig would critique my reading with a gleam in his eye and a smile, and I welcomed his corrections.

I loved to hear Zelig read Torah. He had a rare combination of great learning and a superb sense of humor. His plays on words—in several languages—were brilliant. He was a champion Scrabble player.

I used to call Zelig my birthday buddy. He and I were born on the same Hebrew date more than two decades apart, and as the seventh day of Passover approached, we would call or email to wish each other a happy mutual birthday.

Late last summer, Zelig emailed my reading instructions to me with a short note saying that he would not be at the minyan because of back trouble. Unfortunately—devastatingly—it turned out that what he had was not back trouble, but a serious illness... an illness that, after taking all his strength, took his life yesterday, the first day of Rosh ha-Shana.

I can still hear Zelig’s deep, distinctive voice in my mind. I can’t believe that from now on, my mind is the only place where I will ever hear it again. I can’t believe he’s gone.

Zelig and Ebn Leader at Ebn's wedding

(Zelig [r.] at the wedding of his son Ebn, August 2006)

May Zelig rest in peace, and may his family and friends be comforted.