Monday, July 29, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Tweets, oh my!

Several months ago I took a course for small business owners that was run by the MATI organization. I don't really have a small business, unless you count the Eco Guesthouse. But I was ready to learn something new and registered for the course, which I enjoyed.

A bunch of people in the class urged MATI to open a follow-up course for Internet marketing and we're now in the middle of the six-week course which has my head reeling. Basically, there's so much to do to promote a business...i'm surprised that business owners have the time to actually do the tasks that relate to their business because they're so busy posting, tweeting, linking-in and doing everything else that they need to do to spread the word about their product or service.

Anyway, today's class was about social media -- Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, etc. I consider myself a not-unintelligent person but for the life of me, I can't manage this twitter thing. You're supposed to "tweet" and read each other's "tweets." Each tweet has a "hashtag" and...well, honestly, the whole thing is beyond me. Yet they say that it's a very powerful tool and extremely popular outside of Israel so I spent 45 minutes working it out and, sure enough, I tweeted.

Good grief.

I have had a relatively productive day though -- in addition to my class I translated the Safed Klezmer Festival schedule into English and posted it on my website. My site now averages 100+ visitors each day -- more during vacation times -- and although I don't make any money from it (haven't figured out how) it's a fun hobby and gives me a break from some of my other tasks. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Season

Tzfat is a tourist town and never more so than these weeks when the city is full, full, full of tourists and other visitors. A large percentage of the visitors these weeks are haredi -- ultra-Orthodox -- meaning that, for me, taking my dogs for a walk is perilous since haredim are generally not dog-friendly.

Other than that, it's also the time of year that I'm super busy with my Safed guestroom -- lots of guests which is a lot of work but also fun. I've been renting out for 7 years now and can count on one hand the number of times the experience has been difficult -- in general the guests are friendly, open and easy-going....maybe it's because my Safed tzimmer is simple and moderately-priced, so those are the kind of people who come. Also, I post photos of my dogs on the website, just so people know that there are dogs in the yard, and maybe that has something to do with the kind of friendly people who are attracted to my spot.

This week I have family with me -- for a few days my niece and her husband and kids have been here, and tomorrow my brother and his wife and kids will be here. It gives me a nice break in-between the other guests and I have a great time getting to know my nephews, which I wouldn't be able to do otherwise.

My daughter doesn't have much to do this summer -- she did try to find work but wasn't successful -- so she's taken to staying up until the wee hours of the morning and sleeping until mid-afternoon. I'm not thrilled but I guess that since that's what all her friends are doing too, there's not much to say about it. I'd be a little more impressed if she did some of the work that she should be doing to prepare for 11th grade but I'm a believer in "natural consequences" so I'm not going to make her school success my problem or turn into a nag because of it. I've reminded a few times already. Enough.

Elections for the chief rabbi occurred this week and the stink of politics was overpowering. The haredi parties wanted to punish Naftali Bennett, a kenesset member and head of a large faction in the kenesset,  because he supported the draft of haredi boys into the army. So the haredim rolled over Bennett's preferred candidates who  would have been a lot more unifying for the country (I think anyway) to ensure that their haredi candidates were elected.

Now10 more years of a situation in which the haredim don't pay any attention to the chief rabbis because the chief rabbis work in a State institution. At the same time the non-religious Israelis don't pay any attention to the chief rabbis because these rabbis don't speak to their needs, concerns or interests.

Maybe someone can remind me what was accomplished here?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Our New Chief Rabbis

So, it turns out that our new chief rabbis, people who are supposed to represent the Jewish interests in Israel, were chosen not because they're really the best representatives of Israel's Jewish interests  but because the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) are pissed at Naftali Bennett (leader of the moderate Bayit HaYehudi party which supported the universal draft law which will draft haredi boys into the army) and pushed out Bennet's candidates who would probably have better met the needs of Am Yisrael.

So proud of this method of selection. Really. Great to know that this is how our spiritual leaders are chosen.

We can now look forward to another 10 years of the Haredim not paying any attention to the chief rabbis because it's a "Zionist institution" and the rest of the population not paying any attention to them because these rabbis don't really speak to the concerns and needs of the Israeli street.

Another perspective, this one written by the soon-to-be son-in-law. 

Adventures in Alternative Medicine

For some time now I've been turning to alternative modes of healing whenever possible. These options are generally less invasive, involve less chemicals and frankly seem to work better.

I can think of multiple times when conventional medicine failed me and alternative medicine stepped in. Over 15 years ago I was experiencing knee pain. The "expert" orthopedist told me, after an Xray, that the cartilege in my knees was deteriorating and I needed to take something called MegaGluflex -- 15 years ago it was 300 shekels per bottle, which is a lot now, never mind then.

I went to a Dr. of Chinese medicine who helped with some acupuncture and then began to exercise and the condition just...disappeared.

A few years after that my youngest daughter began to experience frequent, debilitating headaches and stomachaches. Everyone (including myself) was fairly certain that it was

psychosomatic but the pain was genuine and despite ultrasounds and other conventional interventions, nothing helped until I started to take her to a local massage therapist. One of those treatments was usually enough to end the cycle that, sometimes, had gone on for over a week. Sometimes we needed a double dose. 

I've been to a chiropractor for leg issues (helped tremendously) and have tried other types of treatments. 

A few years ago I was diagnosed with a mycrogynomia, which is a growth on my brain. It's benign but it's sitting on my optic nerve and as a result, causes me double vision, which is annoying (to say the least). 

I decided to try homeopathy and have been on homeopathic remedies since Pesach. The most difficult thing about these remedies, up until last week, was that you're not allowed to drink coffee while you're doing homeopathy -- I am a coffee aficionado and miss it, but am managing with coffee substitute.

A few weeks I was moved on to the next stage of the treatment and told to purchase three different types of drops. The instructions were to take 5 drops of each once a week.

I asked "do I take them all on one day? meaning, 15 drops together" and the answer (my homeopathist is in America so everything is by email/skype) was "once a week."

So for 3 weeks I did so, taking 5 drops of each in successive doses -- 15 drops all together.

Well, if I ever doubted the strength and power of these little remedies, I do no more. Evidently I was supposed to take the doses one at a time (meaning one remedy for several weeks, then the next, and then the next) so it built up in my body and caused a reaction. And what a reaction!

Homeopathy is very concerned with regular bowel movements and the whole first part of the program was to prepare my body, meaning to ensure that I would have at least 1 bowel movement a day. So I knew about the connection. But my overdose caused me to make over a dozen visits to the loo each each for several days. When I finally got hold of my homeopathist (it took me awhile to realize that this wasn't a virus or, as I suspected, some kind of allergy or syndrome) she told me about the mistake in the dosage (she said that I had "misunderstood" her instructions, but I have the emails...ah well, no harm done I guess). 

So now my body is detoxing. It's better, and I'll return to the program next week, but I will never again doubt the power of these little tablets and drops. 

I also have to be thankful that I didn't overdose on pharmeceuticals, for which the reprecussions would have been much more severe.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Summer 2013 in Safed

Ah, it's been awhile. No, I haven't fallen off a cliff, but have been super busy with work, family and all sorts of other day-to-day issues of life.

Every week I start out on Sunday thinking to myself "THIS week I don't have anything to do except buckle down and work" and every week something comes up -- the car needs to be taken into the garage (my daughter's car you understand, not even my car, but...whatever), someone gets sick, someone needs assistance, etc.

This week I started the process early -- as I was taking my dogs for their Friday night walk we came upon 2 puppies who had been stuck up on someone's roof. People who were walking by said that they had been up there since the afternoon.

Nu, what do you do? Since I knew that, if I walked away, I wouldn't be able to sleep anyway, I found a young boy who shimmied up to the roof and handed the pups to me.

I did call the vet on Sunday morning to see if anyone had reported them missing but I wasn't exactly surprised when he said no. so this week has been dedicated to remembering why I prefer older, sedate dogs, rather than crazy puppies. 
I actually found a home for the yellowish scottish-terrier-type girl and the second one will, if all goes well, head off to a new home tomorrow. Both good homes and I'm pleased and relieved. And, truth to be told, a little sad. I mean, yes, they're a pain in the butt, but they're so cute. 

Otherwise, all is plodding along. I had a ton of work last month from one of my writing jobs but it seems to have slowed down a bit, which is good because I need to pay more attention to some of the other work that has been waiting for me. And I had a lovely young woman stay for a month in my guestroom. One of these days I'll have to think about the possibility of building another room on my roof -- both as a second guestroom and to accommodate my growing family .... my middle daughter is engaged everyone comes home a lot, which is great, but they expect a place to stay. I don't really want to take on another loan but it would be an investment. Ah, six of one, half dozen of another.

The weather has been great, making me feel even worse about the horrible weather that is being experienced in other parts of the world. I guess one just has to enjoy what you have while you have it.