Tel Aviv Diary - February 6-10, 2012 Karen Alkalay-Gut


February 6, 2012

The breaking news: Iran - 'Positive steps' taken during visit by UN nuclear inspectors (DPA)

I am nurturing a little hope that we and Iran can work on a joint nuclear plan together that will make the entire Middle East blossom. It looks to me like this might be a vain hope, but what with the Arab Spring looking like a total drought for all those who had wished for a new world, it might be time to hope outside of the box.

I got this from the blog of the Lilliput Review:

Neil Gaiman recently posted on his Tumblr account a wonderful quote from Alan Watts concerning advice for aspiring writers. I thought, since Watts (as well as Gaiman) is a long time favorite in these parts that it was well worth passing along: Advice? I donít have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If youíre writing, youíre a writer. Write like youíre a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and thereís no chance for a pardon. Write like youíre clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and youíve got just one last thing to say, like youíre a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for Godís sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that weíre not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or donít. Who knows, maybe youíre one of the lucky ones who doesnít have to. ó Alan Watts

February 7, 2012

Our connections at Maccabi have warned us that Ezi's Zevalin hasn't been approved. They say he's not desperate for it. So the hospital is protesting it and we're petitioning to get it approved, but anyway the chances we'll get approval to order it by tomorrow so he can have it by the 23 are slim. The next order is in 2 weeks and by then who knows if his cancer hasn't changed form.

At least the dog should be well. So we took Shusha to the vet, who gave her a shot and stuff and even gave us some injections to give her at home. And as I was paying him i mentioned that he was nicer than Maccabi. Then the vet swung into action, calling his friends to see if he could help us speed up the process, and eventually getting advice from someone who knows about how to go about petitioning...

In the mean time I too swung into action, stepping into the shop next door and buying a coat...

And now we're off to the eye doctor,to see if Ezi's cataract operation has healed. What do I care if the weather is incredibly foul, dusty and rainy and windy at the same time? I have a new coat.

February 8, 2012

Here's some local poetry color. A few weeks ago I wrote about Women's Voices and here's the clip. They made me do it in Hebrew do I couldn't look up from the page - the whole thing is worth watching but if you're only looking from me, i'm about 5 minutes into it.

I knew she wouldn't let me take a picture of her, so I didn't even try, but I was pretty sure that you wouldn't believe that Bracha Kopstein, the Yiddish poet, is 102 from the way she looks. I stopped by yesterday afternoon while Ezi was sitting at Dr. Zachs with drops in his eyes, and she made me forget all our medical craziness for a while.

Because I've seen "The Big C" and other cancer comedies, I know that getting medication and insurance and stuff like that isn't easy anywhere, but I really wore myself out today racing around with letters and tracking down doctors. I was walking our suddenly crippled dog at noon, after a tough trek to the hospital, wondering how I'm going to get her to take the medication her vet gave me last night, when the doctor at Ichilov called to say the letter I'd left him was now signed and I could pick it up. (That was nice because there's a strike today) So I dropped off said dog and raced back to the hospital. But I couldn't bring myself to park again in that expensive underground parking lot and trolled around until I found a spot on Pombadita street. It didn't take much trolling and I knew my luck was with me. Even the five minute walk to the ward went quickly and I was home in an hour. So I took out the dog again (her bladder is shrinking and shrinking as her heart gets more and more enlarged) and we all had a nice beer-improved lunch. Ezi made a few more insurance-related calls and now I'm off to take the afternoon nap that I truly believe everyone should have every day but never get to take.

February 9, 2012

The signs were taken down today - they were all over the Sheikh Munis hill overlooking the old Petach Tikva Road - that this was an area of munitions dismantling. And no one talked about the implications. We tend to forget why certain Arab villages were razed after 1948. And then the evidence comes up from under the ground.

"So how are you feeling?" The biofeedback therapist asks me as she's putting the pulse monitor on my finger. I tell her about our two-day struggle to get the reasons the health clinic decided against paying for Ezi's Zevalin, our need to consult other doctors to make sure this is indeed the treatment he must have, and the fact that we've missed the date for ordering the stuff for another few weeks. "And you're not terrified about Iran? Lots of my clients are terrified over Iran." she says. "I wasn't until you brought it up," I say, "but I'll think about it now."

February 10, 2012

"Wow! You fell like a commando!" Apparently when I caught my foot in a little pothole in the parking lot I did something like a duck and roll, so only my hands and knees got banged up and I spun around onto my back and was up on my feet in a minute. In a way I was proud of being praised for my instinctual survival tactics, and after that we went to Dalita on 146 Ben Yehuda Street where I allowed myself to pig out on their amazing cakes. Highly recommended.

If we could all reward ourselves eually for every little injury we sustain life would be a lot better.

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