Tag Archives: health

for better or worse

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We may have been born blind or ugly, with a twisted body. or a body that turns out too short, or too long, or with skin of the wrong color. We may develop disadvantageous habits such as eating too much or biting our fingernails. We may have some borderline personality disorder or be Bipolar or have one of the many different mental diseases that are still part of the human landscape. We could get some terrible illness like Degenerative Muscle Disease or Alzheimer’s Disease. Some of these disadvantages are a matter of luck. And others reflect on poor decisions, and choices. A person who drives a motor vehicle while drunk might pay for it with a lifetime as a cripple, much worse than any punishment the court would sentence. But that’s life. There isn’t much we can do about that.

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I could tell you about my own personal life, my bad luck, and my failures. But I’m a person who values privacy. When I go out into public, I prefer to be fully clothed. And when in social discussion, prefer to hear of what people enjoy eating and not about their bowel movements. But if I don’t mention them, it’s not because I want you to think that I don’t shit.

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We arrive here in this, our common world, each person with his own talents and limitations, and we have to make do with what we have. It’s our life, and it’s there for the taking from the time we reach maturity till our death. We can find inspiration in the choices of Helen Keller or Stephen Hawking who were able to overcome severe disabilities. We may read the thoughts of the great thinkers recorded in history since the invention of writing. But finally, it is up to us to find our own way and enjoy this period of time we have on earth.

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There was a time when I enjoyed mountain climbing, sleeping on the ground, eating minimal rations which I could carry on my back, and learning what I could about this world. I lived a good life… maybe even, a few good lives, from my perspective. But now, like Saul who put away his toys when he was grown, I’ve given up the pleasures of my earlier days, and have tried to enjoy the possibilities affordable to an oldster. I miss the libraries I used to visit, miss the high mountains, miss driving with all the windows open across the warm desert, picking a spot to make camp, and finding a universe hidden in the wide wild open. But the computer compensates somewhat for the loss of libraries, and I have the advantage of enjoying the parks, and the cozy corners of this city I live in. We even have islands in the midst of thoroughfares in which flower bushes, different greenery and vines are planted.

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Of course, in my city as in every city, there are better spots, and places which I try to avoid. Usually it’s a matter of choice. Even when I go from one place to another in this city, I don’t always travel the shortest distance. It’s important to me that I enjoy myself while traveling, even if it takes a little longer. I think, how good it is when it takes a little longer and I’m enjoying myself all the way there.

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When I hear the exploits of people richer than myself, how many cars and houses they have, airplanes and yachts, I’m happy for them. I wish them happiness and peace and satisfaction. I know it takes very little to live. And fortunately, I don’t see any hungry people here in the society around me. There are people driven by unquenched desires, but that isn’t hunger as I know it. When I see people living according to twisted values, what used to be called worshiping false gods, I know it’s not my place to steer them against their will towards the good. Everyone has to make their own choices. I tried to influence my own children, but I learned that those with the right stuff, eventually found the right way. And now I believe that it’s best only to give advice when you’re asked for it. Otherwise, it doesn’t usually help anyway.

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Since I feel I’m talking to friends on this, my page on the internet, I feel free to offer a piece of advice here and there, You can read it or skip past to find something more interesting. Some people prefer to look at the pictures without struggling through the text. That’s fine too. As for myself, I make an effort to find those places in which I feel best. Even in my own home, there are more preferable places and less. Outside of the home, there’s a whole world to be found in the city in which I live.

D2715_06this is my home, with clouds above… the room that juts out, with wooden boards between the windows and the roof is my living room

The olive trees posted here are found in the liberty bell park. The park was named in honor of the USA because we admire their aspiration for freedom. Olive trees are native to our land, and there are many stories about them and their wonderful fruit. I’ll share just one that I particularly like. There were priests in the holy temple whose job it was to extract oil. They would squeeze each olive just one time, and the oil from that squeeze was gathered in a vessel. It was called ‘pure olive oil’ and was reserved for the eternal flame. The rest of the olive was used for all the regular needs, as food and oil.
Wishing everyone a very good weekend.

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loving Jerusalem

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As I mentioned in my previous post, last week, and part of this week I’ve been ill with the flu. And I’m not really a very good patient. What’s a good patient? Well, first of all, he’s patient. He waits patiently while his internal defense mechanisms… and the medicines, if he’s given any… fight off the invasion of microbes or virus that have infected his body, and while he’s waiting, he reads a good book, stares out the window at the winter beauty freezing the life out of plant and animal… and diligently drinks his whisky for its anti biotic effect.

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But as I said, I’m not a good patient. And this time, it was even worse than usual. Because the flu hit me smack in my throat, and I was having trouble swallowing, let alone the pain and sorrow of the event… I wasn’t able to apply the whisky treatment which is so much a part of the proper healthy approach to illness. I couldn’t even swallow the pills my doctor prescribed for my heart disease. It was what people of a certain age call ‘challenging’. Moreover, I have a tendency to get very pessimistic when I am ill. I have been known to make proclamations like. ‘this is the end’, and ‘there’s no way out from here’ when under attack from microbes. You see, they’re so small. They hit you in the guts and you feel it. But when you try to hit them back, you don’t even see them. It’s frustrating. And that’s what happened this time too.

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And since I happened to be in temporary lodgings with an angelic woman who had been steadily spoiling me for the past three months, it occurred to me that maybe I had died and gone to heaven. Yet on the other hand… was it at all possible that you’d get the flu in heaven? So it became clear to me that regardless of the euphoria, I was still in the real world and living the life after all. And if that was the case, I had to consider… just how long could a Jerusalemite live outside of Jerusalem till his heart began to break? My new apartment still hadn’t been set up and arranged. The project looked ‘long term’. I felt disconnected from my roots and despondent. So I made a call to my friends in Jerusalem, and told them that though I was having a marvelous time, I just couldn’t bear the exile any longer.

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Within a day they had found me an apartment to rent in my beloved city. Of course, it was overpriced. But what do you expect when you make these on the spot life changes? And the apartment was nothing more than one rather large room with kitchen and bathroom. But it had a high ceiling and lots of windows overlooking the street in one of my favorite neighborhood. And it has wifi too. Plus television and cable service. I pulled the TV and cable modem out of the sockets as soon as I arrived, and that gave me two extra electrical sockets, which I took as a first good sign. The apartment itself hadn’t been repaired or improved upon in the last hundred years, so it had that very Jerusalem feel to it. How lucky can you get? And since parking in this area is also a matter of luck, I get a lot of exercise just walking to the apartment after I’ve found a parking space somewhere in the very general vicinity. Which means a lot of healthy exercise.

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On my second day in town, Janne came over to help me do the shopping, and Rivka arrived to encourage me on my return to my evil old ways. Family and friends started dropping by. Yesterday, I did my restart shower. That’s a shower that lasts so long you forget you were ever sick, and come back to the world as a new born babe. That’s how I feel right now. As if I was reborn. And the illustrations I’ve published here, are of my new environment. It’s not the ‘new home’ yet. Who knows if I’ll live to see it. But it does feel good to be back in my old home town.

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Please forgive me for not answering comments or letters. I’ve been ill. But I do plan to get to that in the coming week.

a winter week

The week started with an assembly of pain. At first I thought that an unexpected attack of sinusitis was the result of going through old audio cassettes, as I chose some of my favorite old albums for transfer to MP3. The cassettes which hadn’t been used for about 20 years, seemed to have collected a lot of dust. And I’m allergic to dust, so it seemed natural that I would suffer from my sinuses, which became worse with every hour, and were followed by a head ache and pressure on my eyes. And when I suffered from a pain in my mouth, I thought it was probably a tooth (though the pain wasn’t really that close to any tooth I had… but then I remembered having cut the inside of my mouth on something I had eaten a few days earlier. Perhaps it was an infection of some internal wound.

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Another day came and went, and the pain grew worse. And I seemed to have gotten a cold too. Was it the flu, I wondered. No, probably not, because I had just gotten the flu shot a short while earlier. Well then, maybe it was the reaction to the flu shot. Or maybe some other flu, not covered by the flu shot. Whatever it was, it didn’t let up, and I was tired a lot, and feeling weak. It was really uncomfortable. And I started remembering difficult winters that I’ve had in the past, and wondering whether this was the start of another miserable winter. Since it was raining, I didn’t go out for a walk for a couple of days. And aside from the exercise, these daily walks of mine usually improve my spirits. It’s also a time for contemplation, which I am loathe to give up.

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At the same time, I seemed to be having a problem with my computer monitor. A window for the adjustment of the volume kept popping up on the screen. I thought it might be dust inside the mechanism, and took it to my trusted computer man. Fortunately, when it comes to computers and photographic equipment, I always have backups. I had another monitor, smaller, but it was able to fill in while my regular monitor was getting fixed.

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And my cat, Nechama seemed to sense that I wasn’t feeling well, and she kept so close that I it seemed like an intrusion of my own personal space. But it touched me that she was concerned, so I didn’t kick her out of my work room, even when I preferred to be alone.

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The pain got so bad one night that I couldn’t sleep. I finally got out of bed, because there didn’t seem to be any point in lying there, unable to sleep. I thought of Michael Jackson. It was strange, because I haven’t thought much of him up till now. But lying there in pain, I could imagine how a person could get crazed by pain, and be willing to take anything to get rid of it, even if it killed him. I’m not used to taking pain pills, and even now I wasn’t taking anything stronger than Paracetamol to deal with my physical distress. When you’re not used to taking medicines, you don’t look in that direction for a solution, even when you feel bad. And I was beginning to feel really bad. And then the next day, things got still worse… until in the afternoon, all of a sudden, things started easing up. It was about the time when a couple of friends had gotten in touch, and been alarmed by my situation, and were beginning to organize help. They said there was something going around, and it included headaches and aches in the sinuses. A doctor was called. Medicines were on their way. But as I say, things were easing up…

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I was reminded that for many generations, people got sick… and their bodies wrestled with the sickness. Before the great strides of medicine that I have seen in my own life, it was common for people to be in great distress from illness. In some parts of the world it is still fairly common. If they got lucky, they overcame it… and if not, they died. There wasn’t that great faith that we have now, that the doctor will take care of us somehow. It isn’t that long ago, that pneumonia was looked upon as a death sentence. And I remember children that died when I was a child. It wasn’t that rare. But now we are more insulated.

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As the week comes to an end, I am feeling so much better. Even took a walk when there was a break in the rain. I enjoyed the winter colors, which I’m sharing with you here. And after being informed that the monitor had an electric short, I bought a new monitor, which I’ve already connected, and everything is working as it should. I had to learn a little about wide screens for computers. They seem bigger than they are when you work with Photoshop. As I approach the Sabbath, I’m very happy to anticipate the rest… It seems like I’ve passed a difficult week.