Saturday, January 30, 2021



Our winters are relatively short and mild, yet I wish we had no winter at all. Me and cold are not good friends.

I'm no fan of summer's heat either; it can be scorching and debilitating. It's just that one likes the freedom that this season offers: no thick fabrics, no layers of clothes, no  boots; no flu episodes, ease of moving and walking.  And of course, Nature is present in all its splendor providing endless delight.

Spring and Autumn, transitional periods, are shorter in length than winter and summer.

Spring, the season of awakening and renewal, is  supposed to come in March, but is usually late, and makes its appearance  in early April. In my country, it also brings with it what's called 'hamsin' - desert heat waves, a dry and quite unpleasant phenomenon.

Autumn is OK considering the spectacular change of colors that characterizes it, except,  that it is autumn that reminds me that each season in my life is linked to the loss of a beloved one, and that fact in itself fills me with sadness. (Autumn is also known as Fall, so probably it is expected that not only  leaves fall, but also one's  mood does).

I've even written  once a few lines on the matter. It goes like this (translation from Hebrew):

"In spring, my Mom got ill and fragile / It sure looked to me a bad sign.  In summer, when everything around was bright  / Alas! She and my brother, both died.

In autumn, with the sky above, cloudy and grey / My father and  nephew passed away. In winter, in the cold, gloomy weather / we had to part from my  uncle forever".


The weather  of each of the four seasons is mentioned quite often in people's blogs; no wonder about that. Climate has a great impact on one's quality of life. 

I've noticed , though, that people who plan relocation, place climate at the bottom of their agenda or ignore it completely.  Only when they get to their new location they understand the meaning of it, but then it might be  too late .

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Keeping It Cool

Almost daily, we're informed about  new age groups that are to be vaccinated next. We're assured there's plenty of vaccine for the whole population. including children. Just make the appointment, and come .

I feel some urgency in the air about it, and that makes me think of the existence of possible vaccine storage/handling issues. I suspect the bottles have to be used quickly to avoid decreased potency and loss of patient's confidence.

                                                              bottles of vaccine (web picture)

After all, it's a tremendous logistical challenge. The vaccine units make a long journey from the centers of distribution -  to clinics - to patients. The journey involves planes, trains, trucks and special delivery containers adequately refrigerated (by dry ice). 

Pfizer's vaccine has to be kept at -70 degree Celsius. Moderna's vaccine is said to be stable at regular freezer temperatures. Both require two doses for full effect, which might complicate things.

Pfizer's 'freezing farm' in Kalamazoo, Mich  (web picture)

Hopefully, a significant drop in the bad numbers of covid-19 victims is to be expected by the end of the month, due to the vaccines and the lockdown. In the meantime, people are strongly advised by the medical experts to keep to masks and distancing, as the british mutation is hitting hard; it especially likes the young ones, and pregnant women in their advanced stage of pregnancy.

Here's a 'talk back' seen online: ' Of course, the british version of the virus is more efficient than the chinese one; wait till  the german or swiss version comes along - what precision, what perfection'...

Monday, January 18, 2021

Schools - Where To?


Despite progress and technology , many things stay more or less the same over  the years. Schools for instance. The same physical bricks-and-mortar structure with classrooms for plus / minus 30 pupils, courtyard, teachers doing their frontal teaching job etc.

               entering school  (web picture)

We've all gone through this kind of school; it has been there for decades offering a sort of constant stability to children, teachers and parents. Now, it would appear that schools (learning, education) are one of the major casualties of the covid-19 virus.

So far, the medical authorities are not in favor of keeping schools open during the pandemic. Yet learning has not stopped , as technology helped quite a lot with suggesting remote and flexible ways of learning and teaching .

distancing  (web picture)

However, there are schools which are meant first of all to keep the kids off the street.  What will become of these schools and of these kids in case things won't go back to normal , that is, to the physical, organized, and supervised system?

wearing masks  (web picture)

Well, there will probably be all kinds of changes we'll have to deal with, once we get rid (if we get rid) of the virus.  I have the feeling, though, that schools are going to remain  forever a 'constant' in our life.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Lockdown and Attractions


Third lockdown . Alarming numbers; the virus with its south- african, british,  indian , brazilian mutations,  seems to be mocking  the experts.

One has to  learn to read between the lines if one wishes to know things. They ( the politicians) play with the numbers, with the info on vaccine mutations,  in fact with any kind of info regarding the pandemic. 

We should keep in mind that the vaccines are approved by the FDA on Emergency basis mainly, as regular vaccine takes several years to get developed. By end of January, we could know if things are going well, but I'm afraid we won't. There's no transparency in these matters - too much is involved here; politics, money, medical reputation .

The latest : by end of March our entire population , starting from age 16,
will  be vaccinated.  It  has even been suggested that vaccination starts at an earlier age as schools, when open, are great spreaders of  the virus.


At home,   as during the first two lockdowns, among other things, I 'm browsing through  old, analog photos, trying to improve them and  enjoying pleasant memories of various places. This time from Portugal and Spain.

One of Lisbon's (Portugal) main attraction is Estufa Fria (cold greenhouse) located in the big park Eduardo7, in the heart of the city. It is kind of a plant museum with species from all over the world. It also has statues, creeks, ponds, birds, all scattered around.

statue:  girl putting on a stocking

stork behind me

The statue and the stork are  spots of light in the darkness created by  the thick vegetation.


Another main attraction in the city is the 'Monument of the Discoveries' on the edge of the Tagus river , point of departure of ships to expeditions. The monument celebrates the period of explorations and discoveries during the 15th-16th centuries.

Its top gives a panoramic view of the river Tagus,, of the Belem area, and of the monastery of Jeronimo which dated from that period .  

                                                      monument of the Discoveries

Belem Tower
Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca) - not to be missed  when visiting Portugal! It's the westernmost point of Europe, "where the land ends and the sea begins".
Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca)


This rugged cliff standing out of the Atlantic Ocean, has a lighthouse; there's also a coffee shop at the top, where I even got a nice certificate marking my visit on the rock.

The Genera-life Gardens in Granada (Spain) have a well-deserved reputation for their beauty and symmetry of shapes.
Generalife gardens (Granada, Spain)
The above gardens with their flower beds, bushes, pastures, orchards and a clever water running system, have served as the retreat for the Moorish Kings of Granada.

And to Cordoba (Spain) to see landmarks of two religions:
The Alcazar, fortress-castle of Christian kings - with three towers and delightful gardens - and the monument of Maimonides in the courtyard of a modest, little synagogue, in the jewish quarter of the city.
the Alcazar fortress

monument of Maimonides

Maimonides (Harambam, in Hebrew) was a prominent rabbi, physician, philosopher who lived in the 12th century.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The French - Armenian Trubadur

The  recent Armenia- Azerbaijan war over the long disputed Ngorno - Karabak region, has reminded me of the legendary french singer, composer, and actor of armenian descent, Charles Aznavour (Aznavourian).

Aznavour, who passed away in 2018, at the age of 94, was considered a national hero in Armenia, the country of his ancestors. He received there all the possible honors and rewards for his activities in favor of the Armenian people. The PM of Armenia participated at his funeral along with Macron, the PM of France.

                                statue of Aznavour in Yerevan, Armenia (Wikipedia)

I'm always moved when I  read about his commitment to Armenia as I know of some people who have become rich and famous and never ever look back at their country of origin.

I cannot mention Aznavour, without revealing that I'm heavily addicted to a You Tube video with the brilliant performance of his famous song 'Hier Encore', translated in English as 'Yesterday when I was young' (see my post entitled '20 years old' from May 3, 2009).

In this video, the 84 year old Aznavour, accompanied by two beautiful, young female singers (probably symbolizing the age of 20), mourns his lost youth. "Only yesterday/I was twenty years old/I wasted the time/Thinking I could make it stop" - moans the elderly man.

Many of us could relate to this song in which the lyricist reaches the sad conclusion that he has wasted his life on follies, on dreams, soaring hopes, and  futile loves.. 

I like the frankness in this song; in real life, too many people claim they have no regrets about their past doings. Hard to believe them.

I do have regrets.


  Hier  Encore