Sunday, May 28, 2017

Life Goes On

it is 12:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I am waiting for my grandson to come.  apparently, there is no afternoon program anymore.  school ends at the end of june but they have already suspended the lunch program for the first graders.  it gets harder every year.  you see all the working parents with their kids by their sides at the banks, health clinics, restaurants, and clothes stores.  the teachers get off but the parents have to work.  it doesn't make much sense.

my dear friends from Jerusalem, came to visit me for shabbat.  my son and family also joined in the shabbaton.  we were a lively bunch.  of course, we all ate too much and drank too much.  I was exhausted, as usual.  I haven't had much sleep lately.  my sister and I had a terrible falling out over a family secret from 20 years ago.  my niece gets married next week and I will not be there.  neither will my son and his wife.

I have spent hundreds of hours on the phone talking with my siblings and friends.  I have not received any resolution and I doubt I will get any closure.  everyone tells me to get on with my life.  I went through a severe mourning period for my lost relationship and didn't shower, dress or leave my house for about 4 days.  I did eat an enormous amount of sugar.  I finally got up one day and showered.  I went out the next day to buy groceries and spent the day cleaning my house.  I hadn't done the dishes, either.  I cleaned my house and scrubbed the floors with bleach and soap.

I made all the beds and straightened out the living room.  I caught up on laundry, too.  I didn't sleep very much on Thursday night.  I spoke with my friend to around 3:00 a.m. and then couldn't fall asleep.  I found it very hard to prepare the shabbat meals.  I made plans to pick up another girl friend and help her take her ailing elderly dog to the vets to have him put down.  afterwards, we stopped off at the large supermarket to buy treats for Shabbat.  it was quite surreal.

I managed to make Moroccan spicy fish, a tabouli salad, a potato kugel, Chinese style stir fried noodles, grilled chicken wings, stewed chicken, beets, egg salad, cooked tomato salsa, and a green salad.  I bought humus and rolls.  I thought about baking a cake but didn't.  we bought two yeast  cakes at the supermarket and the kids brought a cheese cake loaf and a chocolate mousse loaf, to boot.  we had tons of potato chips, seeds, nuts and corn chips.  it was a food bacchanal.  we had Bacardi breeze's, assorted beers, port wine and jack Daniels.  no one was feeling any pain.

the grandkids were having a ball, too.  they received lots of little toys and legos.  the kids slept with me on Friday night.  we got up pretty early.  I was with the kids from about 6:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  everyone was nashing on the nuts and seeds and cakes.  I didn't think that anyone would want to eat lunch but they did and we ate at 11:00 a.m.  no one made it to the synagogue for services.  everyone went to nap on Saturday afternoon except me and my grandson.  he does not like to sleep.  he has never been keen on sleep.  I was delirious from lack of sleep.  he started to have a meltdown in the evening.  no one left the house.  it was hot outside.  the house was cool and comfortable.  we had a small third meal of leftover salads and tuna fish and then finished off the cheesecakes and ice cream.  my friend had bought a cream cake and ice cream to celebrate her dog's passing.  we had a toast earlier in the day to her dog, mickey.

my other friend was also going through a family crisis.  we have been on the phone together 24/7.  I guess we all needed a Shabbat to chill out.  but then, life goes on.  Shabbat ends and reality settles back in.  the older kids went off to the movies.  we stayed here and rapped until around 2:00 a.m. I had the television on but couldn't hear a word.  I was very concerned that I had gone deaf.  I found out this afternoon that my friend's son had simply lowered the volume on the remote control that I never use.  so, no, I hadn't suffered an hysterical deafness.

another close friend, had a bit of an emergency health crisis and ran off the clinic this morning.  I couldn't meet her there because my friends were due back from town and my grandson was supposed to come over, too.  I did most of the washing up this morning but there is lego all over the house.  I do not have the strength to deal with it today.  I am taking it slow today.  I still do not know if I will be hosting any holiday Shavuot meals this week.  I would be very glad not to do nay more cooking.  I am taking it very 'easy breezy' right now.  I do have cannelloni noodles and lady fingers if I do decide to make a tiramisu desert and a dairy stuffed cannelloni for Shavuot.  who knows.  I am still pretty traumatized from my fight with my sister.

Aftermath:  it is now 4:30 p.m.  I just got back from picking up my granddaughter from kindergarten.   my son left work early and the three of them are downstairs cleaning out the pool..  the pool was never taken down last year.  it made it through the winter but filled up a lot from all the rain we had.  it is green and sludgy now.  it didn't help that my granddaughter threw fresh oranges into the  pool.  I am staying upstairs and resting.  I have no strength to bud in to this project.  I think I may be making Shavuot meals after all.  I will keep them simple.  beef in wine for dinner with either a mashed potato kugel or plain mashed potatoes with a sweet noodle kugel.  perhaps I will prepare a green salad, string beans teriyaki and sherbet for dessert.  for the day I will make stuffed cannelloni, a greek salad, perhaps a crust less spinach quiche and a tiramisu for dessert.  I will have fruit for both meals.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lag B'Omer 2017

it is 8:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I just got back from a kid's parade and rally in the neighborhood for Lag B' Omer.  it is extremely hot here and the forecasts say that it won't break until Wednesday.  the kids and I skipped the parade part of the program this year.  we went straight to the sports arena where the program was.  this is a particularly rink a dink arena.  his is no Madison square garden.  it's a neighborhood place.

once again, my grandson didn't win any prizes, and once again he fell into deep despair.  the Sephardi family is making a late night barbecue in the large park.  I declined an invitation.  I'm wiped.   I had to get to town to pick up my grandson this afternoon and was lucky to get a ride there.  apparently, the busses weren't running very often.  we had hundreds of out of town visitors in safed right now. too.  the city is messed up.  hundreds of thousands of people ascended in meron to visit the grave site of Rabbi Shimon. Bar Yochai.  many came to safed for Shabbat.  it was nearly impossible to get a taxi this afternoon.  most of them are going to meron.  the amount of traffic and noise of honking horns was horrendous.

a neighbor who drives a cab picked me up.  he was on his way back home.  he had had enough of the balagon.   I had to pick up my granddaughter from her kindergarten and it took us about half an hour to schlepp home in the hot sun.  I wasn't ready to go back in the heat for the grand parade.  perhaps I should have gone to the barbecue.  I didn't nap yesterday and yet I went to bed after 2:00 a.m.  I was zonked this morning.  last night we took the kids to a Lag B' Omer rally in a nearby soccer court.  it was very windy and chilly.  my grandson had a meltdown when he didn't win any prizes.  I didn't really want to go.  I was tired after Shabbat. my son didn't want to go to this rally alone.

a friend came over in the evening and the three of us played a wicked game of monopoly.  I won big time.  that was a first for me.  I don't do games, usually.  I had a great time.  I really was being obnoxious and lauding it over my friends.  I was half kidding.  anyway, it broke up a very long Shabbat day.  yesterday at the synagogue, two men nearly came to fist a cuff's.  it was quite shocking.  the women were freaked out.  anyway, this heat wave is getting us all a bit crazy.

my charge, went home this afternoon.  she really is doing well and I don't perceive any real problems.  she has a support group and I promised to send over some turkey meatballs this week.  today I made her French toast from a leftover Shabbat roll.  I have been making homemade applesauce every day and I cooked enough chicken so that we were able to have a dinner each night.  I sent home the leftover homemade chumus and was happy to give it up.  I did some laundry for her and then actually did some for myself. too.  I couldn't bring myself to bathe her dog.  I wish I could.

my niece's wedding is in 3 weeks.  I really have to lose a bunch of weight.  it might just be a fruit fast for me.  we shall see.  today, I ate a ton of food.  i have to start moving.  I have my gyn appt. soon and i'll be so embarrassed to show up so out of shape.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Morning

it is 11;00 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  I am zonked.  I just finished washing the floors.  the house is trashed.  I currently have 3 doggies in the house.  no, I did not find and adopt another dog.  my friend is recovering from an emergency gallbladder surgery at my house.  her very decrepit dog is here with me now.  I think she is pushing 20.  my friend went to see her family doctor.  my elderly pincher is pretty stinky, but this dog really reeks and scratches bald patches on her fur.  and she has raken to making turkey like gobbling noises.

I am still coughing but otherwise, I am doing better from last week's virus or flu.  the heat wave is intense.  I find that I cannot be out in the heat.  I easily, get dizzy and have to lie down.  I have to taxi it home with the grandchildren.  they are not so keen to walk in the heat, either.  my house is still comfortable and with the aid of fans, it's very doable.  at night, it gets cold.  is it any wonder that I'm sick all the time?  I have been 'nursing' my friend back to health.  she really isn't doing badly.  she didn't have an open surgery so she doesn't have a huge cut.  i'm afraid I became overbearing about her changing her diet now.  I read about how a high fiber diet is beneficial after this type of surgery.   my friend likes her rich food and her meat.   I know I am not a doctor or nutritionist.  I just get passionate about what I read online.  I have to buy a strong room freshener because of the dogs, now.

I know that in my own way, I have let myself go, as well.   most of my codependent behavior hang ups has led me to overeat recently.  so by my giving my friend a push in the right direction; hopefully I will also change around my lifestyle.  right now I am like a drill sergeant/life coach/dietician and cook.  I really should turn it around on myself and get myself moving once and for all.

I am planning on making a very simple Shabbat meal.   I will serve, sautéed chicken, baked potatoes, beets and chumus and spinach greens.  we will have homemade sugarless applesauce for dessert.  bye bye to Ben And Gerry's, white flour , fried schnitzel and hard cheese.  hello to whole wheat rolls, spinach and cottage cheese. 

I had the grandkids with me yesterday and they were calm and happy and serene.  we went to a local park and they didn't fight.  there were no meltdowns or shouting scenes.  it was so great.  my grandson decided to tidy up the playground and collected a bit of garbage.  my granddaughter spongered the front hall when we got home.  there is a lot of pish in this house right now with 3 dogs.  I showered them and made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.  they had hot chocolate  and potato chips and watched some t.v. before their dad picked them up. 

I am still really tired today regardless of the lack of aggravation yesterday.  what can I do?  I can go to the supermarket now and buy some fruit and veggies for Shabbat.  my son left be about 70 beer bottles to return to the supermarket.   he knows I like to return them and I encourage the grandkids to help recycle, too.  but I doubt that I have the physical strength today to schlep them with my shopping cart.  I always use the return money to buy treats for the kids.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Almost Shabbat Again

it is 6:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  it is almost candle lighting.   I was invited to join my son and family for dinner but I am quite sick and haven't been able to function today.  I couldn't get out of the house to pick up my granddaughter from kindergarten in this neighborhood, either.  I was in bed until a little while ago.  I have felt congested lately, and I chalked it up to the change in weather.  I started sneezing the day before and thought it might be an allergy.  I came down hard today.  I didn't feel well yesterday but I forced myself to get to the bank and pick up my new checkbooks.   my bank card was declined in two cash machines up here so I thought I needed a new one.  I was at the bank for a long time and did not have the patience to stay.  I walked out and returned a bit later.

I went to the oncology unit with my friend on Wednesday.  I waned to lend my support.  his wife was having a musical rehearsal for a new ladies' play.  I am not quite sure that I want to get involved in this play.  so far I've just been a soundboard and gave over my impressions; most of which were negative, i'm afraid. I spent a lot of time listening to the musical choices and adding my own.  it took a lot of energy.  I think it hurt my throat to talk so much.

last night I felt like I may drown in my own phlegm.  I couldn't really lie down because I was spitting up so much.  today I felt feverish and my back hurt.  now I'm coughing.  I heated up some soup for tonight's meal..  I tried eating a bit of couscous and potatoes and felt sick to my stomach.  my sciatic is acting up, too.  I am quite miserable.  I don't even have a headache pill in the house.  I am going to try to take a hot shower if I can stand up.

the pincher dog just came in with a dead bird and ate most of it before I could grab it out of her mouth.  I drank a cup of hot chocolate a little while ago and it made me quite nauseous.   now I am drinking a hot cup of water laced with powdered ginger, lemon juice and honey.  I hope I can get it down.  my throat is very scratchy and I am afraid that I will be in for the long haul with this infection.

my head is heavy and I think I will just go back to bed and sleep.  I left the food on an electric hotplate in case I get hungry lately.  I am really fed up with being sick.  it is going to be a hard Shabbat being alone and not seeing my friends tomorrow.  I doubt that I will make it to services at the local Sephardi synagogue.  oh well.....

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.....