Monday, April 17, 2017

Pesach Ends

it is 9:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  pesach ended about an hour ago.  a couple of friends came over and we shared some torah insights and drank some wine and ate some matzah.  it is traditional to drink another 4cups of wine reminiscent of the seder.   I managed to drink two.  I ate a ton of fresh fruit salad.  my body needs to detox.  I am currently a bit inebriated.  it is not easy typing.

I got to taste my friend's charoset which was made with cooked dates and a banana and I got to taste my daughter-in-law's father's charoset which had peanuts in it.  it seemed irresistible until I actually, tasted it.  it was nothing special.  it's funny how the forbidden and unknown is so enticing.

I haven't cleaned up yet and don't think I will tackle anything until tomorrow.  I do not have a lot of washing up because I used mostly disposable dishes and cutlery this year.  I have only one fry pan to scrub and of course, I have to clean the pesach stove and put the oven back into the hutch in the living room.  I have a lot of matzah left.  perhaps I will make matzah brie later on in the week.  I need to buy eggs.

I do not have any leftover food except for a bit of chopped liver and some salads.  I am proud of how I planned and prepared for the holiday.  I got to rest today, which was nice.  I went to a later minyan at the local chabad bomb shelter this morning.  I had to say the traditional mourner's prayers for my deceased parents.  I got back at nearly 1:00 p.m. and had the meal with my friend.  it was considerably, warmer today.  I slept in the master bedroom last night and today.  the bed is not all that comfortable but it was clean and airy and somehow I could not bare to sleep on the t.v. couch one more night.

I woke up with a headache.  I did drink a bit of wine last night.   sulfates are a killer.  I also had nightmares.  however, I was very comfortable sprawling out on the bed.  I must go back immediately on my diet.  my niece's wedding is in June and I got to get slim.  my friend brought over produce from a moshav that she received for pesach.  I dread looking at potatoes.  I still have some palm oil left so when the kids come over I will make more french fries for them.  the palm oil industry may be responsible for wiping out the rain forests but they do make one heck of a good frying oil.

I didn't eat any chocolate, cake or potato chips during pesach.  I  did hit those three pretty hard before the holiday.  my food last night was a big success.  everyone left stuffed.  I had a pretty hard time sleeping.  my stomach was way too extended.  I am looking forward to eating less now.  no more holidays until Shavuot when we hit the cheesecake and lasagna.  it is a bit sad that pesach ended.  we work so hard for only one week of pesach.  it should be longer.  in the states they do have two more days.  I almost miss that.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Last Night Of Pesach

it is 11:30 a.m. in the holy city of safed.   it looks like rain.  tonight is the last night of Pesach.  I invited a few friends to join me for dinner.  I made a small piece of beef.  I didn't think what I had leftover from pesach seder was enough.  I have way too much now.  I also cooked 4 chicken thighs and fried up some chicken tempura.  it's really chicken nuggets, pesach style, so I renamed it. I also made some chopped chicken liver. it is a bit salty.  I  made a small piece of a salmon fillet.  I have diced beets, carrot salad, Israeli salad, avocado and chopped eggs and kohlrabi slaw.  I made mashed potatoes.  I have a  store bought pesach cake and poached pears in white wine for dessert.  I still might make a chocolate sauce for the pears.

I washed the kitchen floor with bleach and water.  I was too tired to go downstairs to retrieve my bottle of floor cleaner.  it is cold in the house.  the bank called this morning to tell me that I had gone over my overdraft.  I couldn't really fathom the extent of the rapid fire Hebrew conversation.  I think I took out a small emergency loan.  I really thought that I made it through the month okay.  the telephone bill will be the death of me.  with the family wedding and henna gifts, and the cost of making the sheva bracha and Purim seudahs and the pesach seder, I incurred a lot of expenses. hopefully, the next month will be easier.

yesterday, I went to my sister's for lunch.  I wanted to visit my nephew and family who live in the Ukraine.  I got to see his daughter for the first time.  she is around 16 months and was a bit afraid of me.  his son,who just turned three, was quite content hanging out with me and discussing his puzzle.  I had gone to synagogue at 8:00 a.m. and returned home around 11:00 a.m.  I ate some silver dollar banana pancakes and matzahs and drank white wine.  I drank a cup of hot chocolate and a couple of cups of tea and rested a bit.  the weather was horrid.  it was cold and rainy.  by the time I left in the afternoon, it had turned sunny and warm.

I got to my sister's after the meal had finished.  most everyone had left the table.  I was offered some salmon and I, happily, ate a lot of fruit salad.  everyone was tired and ready to nap.  I hung out with my sister for awhile and left in the early evening.  I walked over to the Sephardi family.  they were having their main meal and most animated.  my grandkids ran over to say hello and then returned outside with their cousins.  I wasn't hungry but I drank another cup of tea.  I stayed there until Shabbat ended and got driven home.

I think that my family, although not very communicative, was happy to see me.  we are just very disconnected.  I am much closer to my daughter-in-law's family.  I guess, I am a bit of a stranger to both families. I don't think anyone really gets me. however, I do share grandchildren with the Sephardi family and we remain close.  I find it hard to relate to my sister and her family but I love them all.. 

epilogue:  it is 3:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I just made the chocolate sauce.  I didn't boil it for as long as 12 minutes as stated in the recipe and I got a runny dark liquid that tastes like chocolate that doesn't harden.  it's not very attractive.  I threw walnuts on top.  I plan on pouring the remainder of the wine sauce.  I don't have any dessert dishes left.  I may have to place them into plastic drinking cups. oh well.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Nearly Shabbat

it is 5:45 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  candle lighting is in less than an hour.  I am home alone.  the  leftover chicken soup and orange ginger chicken is warming on the electric hotplate.  I couldn't move yesterday.  I stayed in bed sleeping and watching television.  I went with my son and grandkids to an indoor amusement park in an Arab village near karmiel on Wednesday.  it is usually, a 40 minute ride.  it took us 2 hours driving through unknown long and winding Arab villages.  we were relying solely on the GPS system and it took us for a ride, literally.

my poor grandson got car sick and threw up 3 times.  we had a late start due to the fact that my one and only front door key went 'missing'.  I got into a foul mood and decided not to go to the park.   I felt violated.  my son was on route to drive me home when I decided to go to the park.  I decided to make the best of a bad situation.  luckily, my son had one of my keys in his home.  we got to the park after 5:00 p.m. and it was huge, packed and very noisy.  my head was spinning.  I hate mauls and amusement parks are not my thing.  I wanted to share a holiday experience with the grandkids and have those memories.

the kids brought over steaks, liver, and chicken wings at noon.  I had franks in the freezer.  my son struggled in the wind, to make a barbecue.  I had already eaten two huge round natzahs with the remainder of the charoset.  that's a mixture of chopped apples, pears, almonds and walnuts to any novices out there.  I made a ton of French fries and I ate way too many of them.  I was beyond stuffed when we went to the park.  I brought potato chips and apple juice for the trip.  thank goodness I had plenty of wipes and plastic bags with me.

I went on two rides with the kids.  the grandson preferred to ride alone.  I sat next to my granddaughter and screamed the entire time.  I suffer from motion sickness and cannot take carousels or anything that moves much.  I played my hand at some of the video games.  it's not really my thing.  the kids took a trip to Jerusalem yesterday.   thank goodness, they did not include me.  I can't take the crowds, the lines, standing too much, or being out of town.  they made the right decision to leave me home.  I was so tired yesterday that I forgot to worry about them all night.  I think they made their own memories yesterday and I hope the grandkids will cherish them.

I invited 3 friends for Sunday night's holiday dinner.  I have some leftover beef in wine in the freezer and I made some more orange, honey and ginger chicken thighs.  I had a lot of barbecued liver that we never ate so I made chopped liver.  I made poached pears in white wine and orange juice.  the pears I made in the sweet red wine with ginger root were not a success.  the kids said it smelled weird and tasted like medicinal cough drops.  I have to say that I liked it very much and ate all 4 pears.  the kids left a bottle of light port here so I might just indulge with my friends.

I made mashed potatoes instead of kugel.  I only have a few eggs left and I might need them.  i'll probably make avocado and hard cooked eggs on Sunday.  I ran to the small supermarket to buy a few veggies.  I had leftover grated carrot and apple salad so I added a couple of new carrots, some walnuts and dates and fresh lemon juice.  I also have some leftover beets.  i'll make a kohlrabi slaw on Sunday.  I wanted to fry up some eggplant but forgot to buy one when I was in the supermarket.

I have two sweet potatoes that I can slice and bake and i'll see if I want to schlepp back to the store to buy an eggplant on Sunday.  I don't know what my schedule will be like and if i'll have the kids or not.  I poached some fillet of salmon in white wine and lemon juice.  I can serve it with my homemade lemon flavored olive oil mayonnaise.  it is quite thick.  my grandson whipped it up for me with my electric beater.  it was like a loose dressing.  it tasted  a bit bitter.  the grandson told me to add a bit of sugar and some fresh onion.  he is a 7 year old savant cook.  I added a bit of honey and more lemon.  it is the texture of lemon curd now.  it is quite tasty.

I plan on making a chocolate sauce for the pears on Sunday.  I think I tried this out last year.  you have to pour it onto something right away before it hardens into something unusable.  maybe I can pour it over walnuts.  it's made with cocoa, sugar, oil and water.  I also had a recipe for mole barbecue sauce to try but I chickened out.  I think I will have enough food for Sunday.  I have one store bought pesach cake left.  I might make some brownies.  I didn't think I would do anything today.  I was so tired.  I guess I got my second wind.  the weather turned cold and rainy.  my nephew and family are in from the Ukraine.  I'm hoping to join my chabad family for lunch tomorrow.  it is about a half an hour walk.  my grandkids are going to their Sephardi family for Shabbat.  I can't really eat at their home because of my Ashkenazi and chabad dietary customs for pesach.  oh well.....

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday Night

it is 10:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  one of the grandkids is fast asleep and the boy is watching television.  the parents are out getting groceries for pesach.   the daughter-in-law had to work last night until 1:00 a.m. and had to clean the house after work today.  I kept the kids here.  I made two rounds of French fries.  I did all my cooking during the day and did some elements of the seder.  I made a pretty tasty charoset with apples, pears, almonds, walnuts and fresh ginger .  I don't use cinnamon on pesach.   last year I bought filberts and it was the worst charoset I ever made.  perhaps the nuts were rancid.

I made my moussaka and it came out pretty tasty.  the chop meat turned out to be hamburgers but I sautéed them into little pieces with fresh ginger.  I made a tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes and onions and red wine.  I topped it with mashed potatoes and beaten eggs.  it looks good and cuts nicely into serving pieces.  I made my usual beef in sweet red wine and I made honey orange ginger chicken bottoms.  I was going to make a kugel but I ended up going with mashed potatoes.

I had some tomato sauce left over so I made poached eggs in the sauce.  we call it shakshuka here.  I had some French fries, as well.  I made poached pears in sweet red wine and ginger.  I even made banana pancakes.  tomorrow, I will make the fresh salads.  it was a pleasure being able to cook today.  it is the first time in my life that I finished pesach cleaning early.  I am usually scrambling to wash the floors at midnight.  I was able to do the traditional search for chometz at 8:00 p.m.  I wrapped 10 small pieces of pita into little baggies.  the pincher dog ate one of them so I had to let them out until we finished the search..

I stayed up to 4:00 a.m. watching season 7 of  'the good wife'.  I didn't think I would be able to function this morning but I was fine.  I washed down the kitchen counters with a rag and bleach and covered them with tin foil.  I had exactly enough to finish.  I did have to take a large piece off of the oven but I covered it with a disposable table cloth.  I took out my mini food processor, my hand mixer, and an electric juicer I found in the closet.  I let the kids shell almonds and walnuts this afternoon.  it kept them busy for a bit.  I also let them juice some lemons and made a pitcher of lemonade for tomorrow night.  my grandson and I just made some olive oil mayonnaise.  it is a bit strong so he suggested adding a bit of sugar and a pinch of chopped onion.  he was right on the money.  it isn't exactly thick like mayonnaise but it is like a dressing.

I made the chopped beets.  I boiled the eggs in tea because a I read online that it gives them the look of roasted eggs.  it turned the eggshells brown but the eggs were still white inside.  I want to make avocado and hard cooked eggs tomorrow.  I also want to slice up some kohlrabi.  I will make an Israeli salad too.  I peel all of my veggies on pesach.  so I had to peel the eggplant, beets, tomatoes, carrots and onions before I cooked.  it's a lot of prep work.

tomorrow, I will burn the leftover pita downstairs. I found a slice of bread in front of my house. I will throw it down the sewer drain.  it will take forever to burn it.  I roasted/burnt two chicken necks over the gas stove.  it took forever.  I  still need to make the salt water and to grind the horseradish.  the romaine lettuce is already washed and draining in a colander.  I need to set the table and take out the matzah.  I had a large ant infestation the last two days.  they are coming out of my electric outlet over my kitchen cabinet.  what a drag!  looks like the kids will stay here tonight.

happy pesach to everyone!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Almost Sunday

it is 10:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I was hoping to finish up the pesach cleaning tonight.  actually, the house is clean.  I need to wipe down the kitchen counters with bleach and cover them with heavy duty aluminum foil.  I don't think I have enough foil to finish this.  I don't have any cash on me and I ran out of checks.  the kids are supposed to be here tomorrow morning so I doubt that I will have enough time to make it to the cash machine and large supermarket.

I have already covered my dairy kitchen island with a vinyl paper.  I took out various containers, napkins, haggadas, and machinery.  I am too tired to deal with the counters now.  I already covered the dining room table. I will probably set the table tomorrow.  I know one is supposed to showcase their best cutlery, china and finery but I do not have the strength to take anything down from the shelves.  I do not want to have to wash dishes after the Seder.  I bought a set of fancy disposable dishes.  I will use nice wine glasses.  I have my themed pesach napkins and I will try to make the table look nice.

I saw some ants on the kitchen counter in the cooking alcove.  I have my matzahs there and I am a bit nervous leaving them there.  I will have to find room inside the closet for them.  I took out the special pesach dog food and bowls.  I think the dogs are a bit confused.  I am defrosting chicken, chop meat and beef.  I hope to start my cooking tomorrow.  it may be hard with the kids here.  they were particularly wild on Friday.  I had them pick lemons for me and they were great.  my grandson washed out the dog bed for me and he was focused.

I rented the old movie 'babe' but my grandson said it was too sad.  he said everyone was being killed so he went outside.  that's when the 'fun' started.  I was screaming like a banshee all afternoon.  I didn't know where the kids were.  I was washing the kitchen floor and they were nowhere to be seen.  and of course they didn't answer my calls.  they were all over the place.  they were in the downstairs apartment and in the backyard but I had to keep telling them to come inside.  at one point, while I was washing the steps,  they started throwing lemons at me.

I got a soccer ball crashed into my spine. I let out a yelp.  I called my son to complain.  luckily, my daughter-in-law came home to get the kids.  the granddaughter apologized and gave me a hug.  the grandson started crying.  he didn't want a punishment.  I was relieved to see them go.  they called me just before Shabbat to invite me for dinner.  I was too tired to move but I went.  I didn't want to insult anyone.  the kids fought over who would sit on my lap.

I didn't make any food for Shabbat.  I had salami and turkey cold cuts, tuna fish, pickles and rolls.  I put up a hot water thermos and I was set.  I ended up having a nice Shabbat dinner with the kids and got home around 11:00 p.m.  I managed to get to services at the Sephardi synagogue and ended up at my friend's for lunch.  I schmoozed with my girlfriend and got home around 3:00 p.m.  I started reading insights of the haggada and fell asleep.  I got up at 6:00 p.m. and had a salami sandwich.  the dogs had some scraps.

I hope that the tin foil situation works itself out.  perhaps I will be able to cover part of the counter with heavy duty garbage bags.  maybe I can ask the kids to buy me some foil when they do their shopping.  I am too tired right now to fret about it.  my sister sent me an hilarious cartoon.  it shows a group of people. one person says that she loves to clean for pesach and everyone chimes in with a 'me, too'.  on the top you see the sign for an OCD therapy group session.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Almost Shabbat

it is 1:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  the kids are quiet and watching videos.  I am washing my kitchen chairs.   the weather is threatening.  it suddenly got very cold.  I wonder if this is the 'mud' rain they have been predicting.   all my windows have been cleaned.  it they get muddied, so be it.  I know that I washed and shined them all.

my shoulder is still sore from lifting the living room windows yesterday.  I cleaned the t.v. nook and washed the floor early this morning before the kids arrived..  it is as good as it can be.  if only I bought a new sofa.  oh well..... we made it out to the bakery to buy rolls for Shabbat.  I am planning on eating tuna, pickles and salami sandwiches for Shabbat.  I will try to go to synagogue tomorrow.  perhaps there will be a Kiddush.  I can always crash at my friends for lunch.

I have fruit and pesach cake so I'm fine.  I am trying to finish off the kitchen.  I am running out of steam.  I need to wash down the cabinets, bleach out the counters and cover it all width tin foil.  I may put it off until sunday morning.  the kids will be here on sunday so I will be under a lot of pressure..

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Down The Wire

it is 11:15 a.m. I'm scrambling to finish the house for pesach.  yes, I know that pesach is on Monday night.  And yes, I know that we have one more Shabbat to get through. I will be watching the kids tomorrow and on sunday.  I want to have the house, more or less, pesach cleaned by tonight. 

it was pretty hot yesterday and we couldn't stay very long at the playground.  both kids were pretty wild.  my grandson was shooting us with his water gun and I did not appreciate it.  by evening, it was cold and I was still wet.  I showered them both and couldn't wait for them to go home.  I was zonked fom pesach cleaning.  I hit the television couch and much to my delight, I found the seventh season of 'the  good wife'.  I watched one episode and fell asleep.  I woke up a bit later and couldn't move.  I was able to get up to fetch some pesach cake and some milk.

I entered the living room this morning and lifted out two of the windows.  I couldn't do this last year.  I quickly washed the windows and ran to my neighbor for help.  I could not put the windows back in by myself.  I felt pretty desperate.  I was afraid to leave the windows standing upright.  as soon as my neighbor left I went back to bed.  that really finished me. my shoulder took a hit.  like a gluten for punishment, I went back to the living room and took out the remaining two windows.  once again, I had to run to another neighbor to ask for help.

I quickly sponged the floor and voila! the room is done.  I have to finish washing the floors in the master bedroom and porch area.  I did the windows yesterday before the kids came over.  the bedrooms are already made up for pesach night.  I have to wash the kitchen chairs and floor today.  I will try to get to the counters, too.  I also have to give the cabinets a good polishing and I will be through.  right now I need to take a rest.  I managed to catch up on the laundry.  tomorrow, I will eat salami sandwiches for Shabbat.

I am hoping to be able to do the prep work on sunday.  I have tons of nuts to crack and vegetables to peel.  I hope the kids will let me work.  I am afraid to let them alone for too long.  they are into matches these days.  my grandson set a small fire to my couch pillow outside.  I will have to play it by ear.  yesterday, I went to town and managed to pay my elctric bill, the city taxes and water bill.  I was also able to sell my chometz at the rabbinate.  I bought two packages of romaine lettuce and a small piece of horseradish.

when I got back I found a gift package in front of my door.  I got canned corn, mushrooms, tuna fish, a bottle of grape juice and a bottle of oil.  I also got a jar of mayonnaise, a box of pesach cookies, a package of rice, some bambas and a floor towel.  I bought a kilo of square matzah for the kids and I have a kilo of round matzah for me.  I have been subsisting on tuna fish, corn and potato chips. 

I managed to strip the couch of its slip covers and washed them.  it was a synch getting them back on.  I can't understand why I never thought about doing this.  for the past 17 years, I have been dousing the couch with soapy water.  I can't afford to reupholster the couch.   I can't even swing a new couch cover but at least, it smells clean and fresh.  I am happy.  I look at the streaked, freshly cleaned windows and say my new mantra, 'it's good enough".

Epilogue:  it's 8:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I just finished washing the floor in the master bedroom and porch.  I had to take a long break today.  the living room windows did me in.  someone called at around 2:00 p.m. and I couldn't get off the couch to answer the phone.  I was too tired to talk and definitely too tired to mind the kids.  I ate way too much and passed out.  I got up around 6:00 p.m. and threw tons of soapy water around the room.  I still have some clothes to put away but I will do it in the morning.  the room is mostly made up.