Sunday, January 29, 2023

Me and Influenza


I've always considered climate as an important factor that affects one's well-being and quality of life. ( long before the discussions on climate change).

I don't particularly like winter.  Although our winters are short and mild, nevertheless there are days I'll rather stay indoors because of the weather elements of wind, rain and cold. This fact annoys me. I feel my freedom of choice is threatened. It's the weather that actually decides for me if I'm indoors or outdoors and the proper activities that go with it.

I don't like summer heatwaves either, but they are mostly bearable and don't affect my health, whereas the cold and rain might do that. Winter brings with it the flu (influenza), and in elderly people various joint and muscle aches.

I'm glad to admit that during the last three years , probably because of mask wearing, no flu has hit me. That's a big relief as I used to get a very nasty form of flu (sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, fever), despite the annual flu shot. 

Thank God I can manage it with basic remedies: undiluted freshly squeezed lemon juice for the sore throat, saline nasal spray for the nose, ice for fever - and of course, hot soup and hot tea. Within a week, it's usually gone.

However, as I advance in age, the flu symptoms make me tired and vulnerable . If the mask is the solution - so be it. As long as it keeps the flu away from me,  I don't mind to be in the minority ; most people have already abandoned  mask wearing.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

My Kind Of Archeological Discovery

No bones, no skulls, no skeletons, no pottery, but silk and cotton. A few hundred pieces of exotic textile from 1300 years ago, has been found recently in a lovely place - in the israeli desert  (northern Negev) near Nahal Omer ('nahal' means river). The luxury fabrics were originally from China, India, and Sudan and meant to reach European places.

piece of fabric*

The first find in this area (considered part of the Silk road - a network of Eurasian trade routes) - came in 2018, but there was no money to start a serious excavation. Finally it became a joint project of israeli and german archeologists, and the funds were provided by the germans.

Earlier, in 2017 (during an excavation that was going on since 2013), 3000 years old purple wool fragments from king David's era,  dyed in royal purple (argaman, in hebrew), symbol of high social status , and probably first evidence of chemical dye in the area, was found in the valley of Timna, place in the desert known as an ancient copper mine.

The dry desert climate was probably the reason for the good preservation of textiles digged up in the above excavations. 

The findings have a great historical and archeological significance as they help understand the techniques of textile development in those times. Moreover, they add information regarding transfer of goods between East and West.

A bit of trivia - cotton is the most comfortable of fabrics (softness, breathability, weightlessness); silk is the strongest natural fabric in the world. Ahmadabad is considered Manchester of India for its being the center of textile industry.

* web picture

Monday, January 16, 2023

The Deserted Bench


One of the saddest things we witness in our third age is disappearance of familiar faces of friends, neighbors, acquaintences. Some die, some go for an assisted living facility, some move closer to their children.

 There's a certain bench which whenever I happen to pass near it, I feel a twinge. It reminds me of two women, neigbours and friends, that regularly used to sit on it talking, gossiping, laughing. Sometimes, I would join them as they were a good source of the latest news in the area.

One of them died a few years ago; after that, the other one was not seen again sitting on that bench .  She recently moved to an assisted living facility. She didn't want to. At her age (80) she was still in good condition and quite independent.

However, a divorced brother of hers who had to leave his apartment to wife and kids, came to live at her big house. She was not happy about that. After three years of having him around, she decided to sell the house. She gave him some money to find himself a place, and joined an assisted living facility.

She couldn't believe it. Leaving her house, turned out to be one of her most happy days. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Urban Renewal (Pinuy-Binuy)


Urban renewal is a widely discussed and controversial program. It is a process intended to improve specific areas of a city. There are several terms related to urban renewal, the most known being 'Clearing and Building' (Pinuy-Binuy in hebrew), 'Tama 38'.

It's usually a slow process (it may take years) that involves getting permission from the residents, from the local and regional authorities, proper planning and consulting. If all goes well, the result is one of economic, social and environmental area revival.

The buildings in my neighborhood are about 60 years old. The plan is to demolish the old structures and build new ones, more spacious and with a promise of increase in market value. I would have preferred renovation, not demolition, as the basic construction is of good quality. Moreover I've got 3 air exposures and it's street faced (quiet inner street).

 In Pinuy-Binuy the apartment has to be evacuated for two-three years, and the resident displaced until the new building is finished. Not convenient to my age. I think, however, that according to the law the contractor has to offer a person of my age the option of an immediate new apartment in one of his other buildings, if available.. We shall see.

Lately, I've noticed some action which means the process is approaching and I'm quite apprehensive. There is always local corruption, conflicting interests, poor planning, and above all, the need to start downsizing towards the evacuation of the apartment.  Just the thought of it gives me a headache.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Prima Donna

I started the new year with  listening to some of Maria Callas' opera performances.

Her voice was perhaps, not the greatest, but her stage appearance was majestic, dramatic, and her smile - fascinating!  Maria Callas, the famous american born, of greek descent, opera soprano , had a vast classical repertoire which included operas of Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Bellini etc.. brilliantly performed by her.

I often watch the youtube video with Callas in the Habanera aria from the opera Carmen by Bizet. It' s a treat; it gives me so much pleasure to see her and listen to her interpretation! ('habanera' is a cuban popular dance).

Her untimely death (at 53) was a big loss to the opera world. They said she died of a 'broken heart'. Her lover, Onassis, the shipping magnate, dumped her for Jackie Kennedy. 

According to letters found after her death, it would appear that she was abused by both, the ex- italian husband Giovani Meneghini , and by her greek lover Aristotle Onassis. It was believed that unlike on stage, in her private life she was a somewhat submissive person, and submissiveness usually attracts abusers.

The word has it that she was abused even by her parents! Who would have thought that about the greatest soprano of the 20th century!?