Monthly Archives: October 2008

Noah?

Oi, such a rain: We’ve had a few little cloud-bursts since the start of September, but nothing that lasted long.  For the most part, the weather has been the usual late summer temps.  But yesterday, the sky looked dreary and oppressive, and at night all hell broke loose.  We had torrential, unrelenting rain all night, lightening, and thunder that at times was so close, it rattled the windows.   No hot water.  This is the first time I’ve had to turn on the water heater!  (Solar, dontcha know…)

So this morning I don rain gear and take a confused Terri outside.  She loooooovvvvveeees her walks, but she is not so sure about this wet stuff.  Internal conflict!  The funniest thing is watching her try to oblige when I ask her to sit—she squats with her tushie hovering a few centimeters from the wet pavement. 

The house now smells vaguely of damp dog.

Elections—again:  Oh, crap.  Well, not such a surprised, but Livni doesn’t manage to pull together a government, so everything goes back to the drawing board with early elections.  However, note that when we talk about new elections, we have a three month campaign, not a friggin’ two year marathon, like in the States. 

Winter fare: Oatmeal with egg, salt, garlic, helba, Tobasco, and ground flax seed, cooked into a lovely, golden, fagrant mess.  Mmmmm.  Healthy and satisfying, but I am aware that the mere thought of it makes most people gag.  B’ta’am v’re’ach…  So what’s your favorite breakfast on a stormy winter morning?

Nocturnal Rumblings

It’s been a tough week: I spend much of the week frantically trying to pull together the materials for a new seminar that starts this week.  Friday was the first day with my new batch of students in the big Tel Aviv course, so of course I didn’t sleep much the night before.  I had dropped Terri off at her doggy daycare the night before simply to allow me the luxury of sleeping in until 4:30 (and yes, that is AM). So by Friday evening, I was beat.  I ended up going to bed around 21:15 and slept like a rock until Terri woke me up after midnight.  She was being amazingly obnoxious, and I was certainly annoyed for a few moments until I noticed the strange sounds, something like water gurgling through pipes.  It took me a few minutes to realize that the sounds were coming from Terri’s stomach.  Clearly, the girl was about to explode.

I hurriedly threw on some clothes over my pyjamas and took the poor dear out.  For two hours we wandered the dark streets.  Terri ate grass, squatted repeatedly (to no avail), and whimpered.  At one point, a pack of jackals cut through the edge of the neighborhood, and Terri went nuts.  Finally, at 2:30, we returned home.  Terri spent the rest of the night exiled on the balcony (I was worried that she would, in fact, eventually explode).  So that was two nights with very little sleep.

Terri spent most of Shabbat lying around and looking sad.  She didn’t eat much.  But by this morning, all was well.  She is back to “regular” habits and seems perky and happy.  Who knows what it was that clogged her up!

Time for sleep…

Hot Stuff

Cooking adventures: I whip up a big pot of lentils flavored with curry and a hot chili pepper I found languishing in the bottom of the fridge produce bin.  At some point, I must have touched my face while there was still chili oil on my hands.  Oh, my!  Some got under a fingernail, and that was excrutiating.  The irony was that this was one of those wimpy little green chilis used here in z’hug (probably similar to a jalapeno), so relatively mild on the Scoville scale.  The finished dish was not too spicy, but had just the right amount of kick, so the moral is to handle with care even when you think that the fesh chilis are wimpy.

I finally got brave enough to try baking bread in my countertop microwave/grill/convection oven.  For many of us who have tiny apartments and small kitchens, we don’t have the space required for a full oven.  In my kitchen, that space is used for much-needed deep drawers (large pots and pans, small appliances, etc.).  Having one unit that does everything is a great solution, particularly if you don’t normally use an oven much.  The acid test was baking bread, and I’m happy to say that it came out just fine. 

Maravah to the rescue: Terri starts smelling a bit too much like a dog, so I stop on our walk this morning and pick a few leaves of maravah (a local sage) and rub it all over her.  The oils definitely make her smell better, and I am hoping that they will also act as a natural flea deterent, because despite her monthly treatments of Sentry Pro drops, she still has fleas.  Let’s face it: I have a hairy mutt.  She picks up a lot of stuff as she romps through the bushes and dry brush.

No quiet yet: Police gear up for a potentially volatile erev Simchat Torah in Akko tonight. Demonstrators try to block the crossing into Gaza to demand the release of Gilad Shalit (Hamas basically thumbs their collective noses and says forget it).  Police seek info related to the hit-and-run that left two pedestrians dead last night. Meanwhile, the clock is still ticking for Livni. Doesn’t look like it is going to be a quiet week…

Wildlife

My own personal critter spotter:Walking Terri is a great way to spot wildlife that you might otherwise miss.  When she freezes and stares fixedly, I know that there is something out there—a lizard, a tortoise, a hyrax, a bird… Last night Terri spots a hedgehog foraging on a grassy area and sniffs it enthusiastically. 

Terri also has a new friend.  He’s a little “pinchy” (min-pin), an “intact” male sporting a very sissy pink colar.  I let Terri off the leash and she and her new boyfriend went nuts chasing each other around on a bit of lawn.  Now, every time I take her out, she looks eagerly for her friend.  She also made friends this morning with a gigantic black Lab.  She was already a bit tired from climbing up the rock cliff to “visit” the hyrax (no worries: they sneer at her and zip down into their burrows when she gets too close).  By the time we got home, she shlurped down some water and collapsed.

A Day in the Life

…of a naughty dog: Terri enjoys a large breakfast, including polishing off the tuna that Nadine didn’t finish, eating a post-walk treat, a bowl of dog kibble, some egg yolk, and a piece of tomato.  She then raids the litter box and helps herself to a piece of cat poop for dessert.  Yech.  A few hours later, I bundle her into the car and we head out to a client site for the second day of in-house training.  Less than one minute from our destination, Terri horks up all over the back seat.  I clean it up, clean her up, and manage to get through the day’s training.

That evening, with my voice already failing, I prep for a webinar (a seminar conducted online, with participants logged in from all over the world).  I kick Terri and Nadine out of my office and settle down for the session.  Everything goes reasonably well, but in the final ten minutes of the Q&A session, Nadine starts scratching maniacally at the door.  I finally let her in, figuring that will make less background noise than her scratching and crying.  She trots in (closely followed by Terri), and then starts making those dreadful  “I’m-about-to-hork-up” sounds.  I’m in the middle of answering a question, so I can only stare in horror as she noisily empties the contents of her stomach all over my office, and Terri quickly laps it up.  Eeeuuuuuwwwww! 

I’m offering the pair (one used cat and slightly used dog) on eBay…

Livni Gets a Go

Do we have a government? Could be.  Kadima and Avoda (Labor) cobble together an agreement, but that still leaves Livni short of the votes needed to claim a coalition government, and the clock is ticking.  If she can’t pull a coalition together by the end of October, the whole thing collapses and we go for elections in 90 days, and then the coalition scheming begins anew.  What a waste.  I’m actually rooting for Livni and I hope that she can put something together that won’t be so diverse that it prevents her from getting anything done.

Akko riots continue: On Yom Kippur, Tawfiq Jamal drove through a Jewish neighborhood.  To understand the enormity of this, you have to understand that Yom Kippur is our holiest day, and even totally secular Israeli Jews refrain from driving.  The roads become safe playgrounds for millions of kids on bikes, roller blades, skateboards, etc.  Many Jews who don’t attend services in beit knesset (synagogue) all year still make a point of showing up for Kol Nidre services on erev Yom Kippur.  Many fast. 

Anyhow, Jamal may have innocently been trying to get home, as he claims, but his actions triggered riots that have been going on now for four nights.  Akko, a city that is mixed Jewish and Arab, has a long history of violence.  It is like a peat fire—smoldering under the surface and ready to reignite at the slightest provocation.  There has been some Jewish backlash against Arabs, but it is interesting to note that all of the 14 people hospitalized have been Jewish, including a young man who may lose an eye.  The idea that Jews walking to beit knesset get attacked both verbally and physically in Israel!  What the hell is going on?

Arab leaders denounce the Arab rioters, but Akko’s mayor blames the police for not making more arrests.  I tend to agree.  When you have a handful of hotheads on both sides, you have to stop the problem before it escalates.  This is an ongoing problem in a city where most of the 50,000 residents coexist fairly well on a daily basis.  But the violence often flares up during holidays, such as the beit knesset that was firebombed last year and during Simchat Torah, and the attacks and riots the year before.

We used to have our offices in Akko, and I still go there almost every week to take the train.  It makes me sad to think that a handful of hotheads can do so much damage.  Here are some comments from residents. Now Palestinians are rioting “in support” of Arabs in Akko and calling Jamal a hero, while he himself has apologized and claims that he had no political motives in his actions.  What a mess.

Naughty Dog update: She just ate part of my favorite hat.  Anyone want a dog, slightly used?

Obediently Yours

Vadim to the rescue: It’s been a long spell since my return.  I almost immediately pulled a muscle and then got some crud that was going around—can’t complain as it didn’t happen while I was traveling, but it has made me feel crappy and has kept me from accomplishing much of anything, other than regular walks with the Naughty Dog.  But I finally linked up with the dog trainer, Vadim, and we began private lessons.  And not a second too soon.  The other day she nipped a jogger, bowled over Charlie (a friendly little min-pin), rolled in manure, and forced me to carry her part way home.  Don’t ask. 

If you’ve ever watched Caesar (aka the Dog Whisperer), Barking Mad, or any other dog behavior show, you already know that when a dog has problems, in most cases it it the fault of the human.  Ergo the lessons are more for me to learn what to do with Terri than anything else.

In two weeks, Terri and I have mastered a few new skills, but it is slow going.  Vadim says that Terri is sweet and bright, which is nice to hear.  Today he had a chance to see her in action.  After behaving like a perfect little angel for most of the walk, she finally did several naughty things:

  • chased a cat
  • refused to come when called
  • did her “I-won’t-budge-from-this-spot” routine
  • got very aggressive with another dog

Vadim was delighted.  It gave him a chance to see what he is really up against.  Still, she is making some progress.  She now will sit (with some reminders) when get to a street, she sits and waits when I ask her to (even if I am standing there chatting with someone for a few minutes), and she is now starting to learn to heel.  But just so I don’t get too excited about her progress, here’s the DestructoMeter update:

  • eaten: one half-full box of cranberry-flavored Ricolas
  • chewed: two more rolls of TP
  • midnight shlurping sessions: several

I’m sad to say that the Ricolas did nothing to help her breath. 

Tzom kal, g’mar hatimah tovah, and all that stuff: See y’all on the other side after the haggim.