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Feeling Poorly

What’s got Terri down?  PGD (Pretty Good Dog) is not feeling any too clever right now. A few days ago she yelped when I picked her up and seemed lethargic and in pain. No fever, no vomiting… but off to the vet we went.  I was actually suspicious that she might have eaten a chicken bone or something else picked up illicitly on a walk, and that it was causing internal distress. But as there was no fever or signs of infection, internal bleeding, etc., I was not sure.

Turns out that my poor baby has a bulging disc!  Whether it is completely herniated or just a bit swollen is hard to tell, but anyone who has had a disc problem (hands up, everyone) knows how bloody painful it can be.  So the poor girl is on doggy anti-inflamatories (which, BTW, are designed to be extra tasty to dogs, so she gobbles it with no urging).  She is also supposed to rest, keep warm, and not do any jumping or rough playing.

Well, try to explain to your dog that she can’t play with her friends. This morning Terri was clearly feeling better, so as soon as I let her off her leash on the walking path, she tried to leap up onto the rocks as she usually does. YELP! The disc had other ideas!  PGD stood and quivered for a moment, then slowly picked her way back down to the path, where she pressed herself against my leg and trembled. For the rest of the walk, she avoided running and jumping, and climbed the stairs like an old lady.  Poor dear. Right now she is snuggled up in a fleece blanket, feeling quite sorry for herself.

Cheese, Chocolate, and Watches

…and let’s not forget the cows, mountains, and Swiss Army Knives!  Yes, it is beautiful Switzerland.  Point your camera randomly in any direction and get lovely views:
Lucerne, view from bridge

I was in Lucerne (or Luzern, if you prefer the local spelling) for a two-day in-house workshop for a new client.

This wasn’t my first time to Switzerland; I’ve attended conferences in Zürich, so I was not entirely unprepared for the quiet and contemplative Swiss approach. Despite their insistence that they are quite different from the Germans, they share a seriousness and a love of order and regulation. I definitely had to work pretty hard to get much more than a smile and a chuckle, but it was worth it. The group of writers were very nice and they took the training seriously, participating in all the work and discussions, and gave me great evaluations.

When I work, I usually fly in the day before, pray that I’ll get a good night’s sleep, do my training, and fly out again. At best, I get part of a day to see the sights. This time was no different, but at least I lucked out with beautiful weather.

Maybe I’m just the tiniest bit Swiss myself…

I wear black. A lot. With a bit of red as a spot color. So do the Swiss.

I love farmers’ markets, and so do the Swiss:

I think colorful root vegetables are interesting (as long as I don’t have to eat them)…

I have discovered the joys of raclette, which is basically a plate slowly-congealing melted cheese next to a pile of potatoes. Mmmm, raclette!

I like places were people love their pets. I saw a lot of nice doggies and one of the fanciest, most expensive pet stores I’ve ever seen in my life. One small dog coat was 395 Swiss Francs, which is way more than I’ve ever spent for a garment for myself! Sheesh.  The local critters clearly feel very safe; for example, the massive swans are completely fearless.  The Swiss seem to enjoy feeding the swans, but then again, that may be to prepare them for market day… 

I enjoyed the cool weather, and was excited about being able to stand on some snow. Ironically, on Saturday it hit about 9 in Lucerne during the day, and it was 9 in Karmiel when I got home! What felt lovely and mild in Switzerland feels darn cold here!  Besides, in Karmiel we don’t get a chance to put snow chains on our shoes:

I love all things tiny and compact, and was impressed by this church, which was slightly larger than a typical toll booth:

Here are a few more pictures…

Will 2011 Be Our Year?

I know it is only late January, but… It isn’t too early to start thinking about Eurovision 2011.  As usual, the contant rule changes (both internationally and here at home) have led to a new shake-down.  For the past few years, the representative singer was selected by some committee, and the public could only choose between four or five songs (also selected by the committee, written, on request, by major local composers).  But this year, the public will also get to vote on the singer. Yeah!  Stuff starts happening soon, with the final selection broadcast on 08 March.  We are hoping to get someone great with a kick-ass song to represent us in Germany.

Meanwhile, Eurovision Times listed the public’s choice of the Worst Eurovision Songs of all times. Several of my sister’s favorites are listed here (specifically numbers 10 and 11).  Actually, I thought that Dancing Lasha Tambai was hysterical and way better than some of the bland pop songs.  Hmmm…

Meanwhile, a new Avodah? Labor party internal explosion, with Barak leaving (along with Vilnai and two others), may be a Really Good Thing. If Yehimovitch can pull things together, we may have a rejuvinated Avodah, getting back to the good ‘ol labor ideals that helped found this nation.

Even geeks get sentimental: IBM puts out this fab video to celebrate 100 years of social and technological innovation.  RISC! System 36!  Punch cards! Fortran! Makes me weep with nostalgia.

Lump Watch 2011

Which side?  Terri’s lump has gone down so much that I can barely find it! Hooray to Dr. Ofer! Pretty Good Dog celebrates by finding yet another dead, rotting carcase to roll in.  Ugh.

Fore! The rain has finally saturated the roof to the point where a big chunk of plaster fell off the ceiling of the stairwell, leaving a large diningroom-sized scar and showering the area with debris and rubble. Amir, my downstairs neighbor, helped me clean up. Yikes. More repairs to add to our list!

Miracles do happen: After being locked out of my mail box for almost two weeks, and wasting endless time calling the post office, I happened to be passing by when the post office car was pulling up to our mail box area.  Thirty seconds later, the guy had cheerfully comfirmed what I had suspected—namely, that the box had been locked from inside.  It was, as you can imagine, crammed full of mail.

Long Time No Blog

Let’s get this party year started! Well, 2011 is not shaping up to be much different from 2010, but most of us perpetually self-deluding types are still convinced that we can get in shape, lose weight, and do all those wonderful things (and stop doing all those bad things) that we meant to do at the start of last year.

But never fear. A new year offers a clean slate and a chance to clean out the closets, purge some emotional baggage, and get things in shape again.  For me, the year kicked off with a flurry of errands, paperwork, and other chores associated with being atzma’i (self-employed).

One of those chores was a lengthy confab with my printer, a lovely local guy who goes by the remarkable name Gantos Gantos. (What were his parents thinking?) Gantos is Christian Arab, but of a Coptic sect closer to Greek Orthodox, so he is a tiny minority inside a tiny minority.  He always starts our meetings with a small pot of Turkish coffee and a few pithy sayings. This week I got:

A woman must be able to totally trust two men in her life: her husband and her accountant.

I love it. Reminds me of what Baruch, my accountant, told me when I became self-employed:

אפשר לישון טוב או לאכול טוב
(You can sleep well or eat well.)

Being the straight-laced American, I choose to sleep well, which means that all my paperwork and tax stuff is immaculately above-board, and I make a lot less money. 😦

Soggy Doggy has a lump: Terri and I went to see the ever stoic Dr. Ofer, because I discovered a lump on my little darling. We are awaiting lab results. (Are they still Lab results even if you have a mixed breed terrier?)   Tonight’s rain had Terri digging in her heels and refusing to go outside; I actually had to carry her across the street before she gave up and plodded along, soggy and dejected.  Poor baby.  Meanwhile, here’s the girl with her monkey:
Terri laughs while cuddling her monkey.

Take the survey!  Please help me out. If you haven’t already taken my survey on computer usage, pul-eeeze do so! I need a ton of data within the next week. I need people from different age groups, backgrounds, locations, etc.  It will only take about ten minutes to do. Please feel free to pass the link on to everyone.

Bracing for Winter

Winter is here! A bit of rain teased us earlier in the week, but then it was back to sunny weather. But on Friday afternoon, the clouds rolled in and the heavy rain began at night.  We’ve had lovely thunder and lightening and rain most of the day.  Terri managed to get absolutely filthy on our walk (she not only got covered in mud, she also managed to roll in something decidedly dead and stinky).  Two baths later, she still pongs something dreadful.  Maybe it is time to get some tomato juice and try that old remedy.

Take the shoe survey, please! Ladies, I need your help.  Please take this very short survey as I (quite unscientifically) attempt to chart some basic data about western women and our love of shoes.  Please help!