Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Back To Work

it is 11:30 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  I am officially back at the yeshiva.  I made dinner for them yesterday.  the kitchen is almost empty but there is still lots of chop meat in the freezer.  the new manager made sure to clean the kitchen before I returned.  the students had the run of the kitchen in my absence.  I spent a few days in Jerusalem with the kids during the break.  I returned to safed about a week ago and haven't left my house until yesterday.

I have been suffering from a pain between my shoulder blades all week.  I took a bad fall just before rosh hashana.  I do not know if this pain is a result of the fall or just a result of al the tension I have felt as of late.  it is hard for me to lift things and turn my head.  the pain is constant.  I haven't spoken to anyone in my family in a while.  this includes my son.  I am in a depression and have been overeating as a result of this.  I couldn't wait to get back to work.

unfortunately, I am not thrilled to be back, as it turns out.  I am a bit mad at the world.  my sister turns 70 but I am the one who feels old and irrelevant.  the pain in my neck doesn't help things, either. I am fantasizing about moving.  yes, I think about downsizing and even leaving safed.  I am in the process of getting rid of books.  even though I own many book shelves and have many rooms to display these shelves, I am thinking of the future when I may live in a small apartment.  so. I am throwing out books that I do not need or read anymore.  I have a huge bag of old judaica which is ready to bring to a site where they either bury them or burn them. 

I also have a huge bag of outdated English lesson books which I can't stand to look at anymore, either.  I may be able to get rid of these antique book shelves someday.  they are not in the best shape and I don't know if anyone will actually want them.  I don't think I would drag them across the country if I chose to move.  ikea have affordable simple, and stream lined, modern furniture.  these bookshelves are dark and heavy and very dated.  I find them to be a bit depressing.  I guess I find everything to be depressing.

I finally took down my sukkah on Friday.  my gardener actually dissembled it.  I took down the fake fruit and wall material.  I don't seem to have any core strength these days.  I am lacking power in my arms.  I keep thinking about painting the bars every year but never get around to it.  I also want to buy new material.  in Jerusalem, my son bought a sukkah for only 280 shekels; which came with the material as well as the top covering .  I have never seen material for that little in safed.  I wasn't sure if I was going to put up the sukkah this year.  I ended up using it for just one Shabbat when I came home from Jerusalem. 

everyone tells me that I am no longer young.  I know that I look ancient.  I haven't dyed my hair in years.  my face is beginning to line.  I feel like I'm totally obsolete.  yesterday, the manager of the yeshiva asked me if I can bend to reach the flour on a low shelf.  I actually, have a problem bending right now.  I felt like I was beginning to have a sciatic situation yesterday.  I can't really reach the back to apply arnica to the shoulder blades by myself.  I am not a happy camper.

I ran into my sister on the morning of yom kippur.  we had run into each other in may at our father's gravesite.  we didn't speak a word to each other.  this time, she actually wished me a happy holiday. she looked pained to see me.  I have tried very hard to avoid running into her for over a year. I stopped going to her neighborhood and didn't even go to the large supermarket.  I do not know what to do about this situation.  I actually wanted to hug her when I saw her.  I am the older sister.  she is my baby sister and I have always looked out for her.  I am alienated from nearly everyone.  I am in seclusion. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tonight We Dine Outside

it is nearly 4:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  the house is clean and very quiet.  I already made up the downstairs bedroom for the kids.  they are coming next sunday night for the holiday of simchat torah.  tonight they will be going to the Sephardi family for the holiday.  I am also going there for supper.  they have a massive sukkah. it will be crazy with 5 young kids running around and countless others inside and possibly a dog.  I will walk home later tonight.  my friend is staying the week and watching my dog.   I am going back with the kids to Jerusalem after the holiday ends Monday night.  i'm thinking that I may stay the entire week.  this is my last vacation from the yeshiva and my last chance to be with the grandkids.  they go back to school and I return to work right after the holiday..

I already cooked up some chicken and meatballs and froze them in case I return to safed on sunday of next week.  I bought prepared salads and kugel.  hopefully, everything will be okay.  my neighbor came over to put on the bamboo covering of the sukkah for me.  I ended up stringing up my plastic grapes and a few plastic pomegranates.  it is quite hot here, once again.  I didn't bother hooking up a fan to the sukkah.  if it is too hot to stay in the sukkah, i'll eat and leave right away.  i'm thinking of bringing a woolen shawl for tonight.  it gets chilly at night.

I baked two small honey cakes this morning.  I used organic whole wheat flour and organic cane sugar.  they really aren't so yummy.  I used my standard recipe but I don't know where I went wrong.  I bought cheap honey flavored cupcakes for the grandkids.  I also bought chocolate rugalach.  I really wanted to make a tiramisu or cheese cake for the day time but I didn't have the patience to go to the supermarket this morning.  I bought tons of chocolates and ate all of them during the week.  I have one small package of mini chocolates and halvah hidden in the closet.

I bought a small kids' sukkah and i'm thinking that they are probably too big for it.  I will give it to them to take back to Jerusalem if they want it.  they already have a huge plastic tent in the backyard.   maybe i'll save it for next year and give it to a family with little kids.  it's collapsible and fits into a small bag.  it's pretty cute.  it is so strange not having the grandkids here anymore.  that's life now.  I have to get used to it.  I went shopping at the large supermarket twice and I don't have a single thing to bring to my in-law's tonight.  I spent a fortune, too.  I didn't buy any presents for the kids, either.  I figure i'll get them stuff in Jerusalem.

I did buy the sukkah for 20 bucks and a new scooter for my grandson for 30 dollars.  that won't impress them at all.  luckily, my check came in early this month so I have a bunch of loot to travel with.  I hope to meet up with my friend there and go out for dinner with her.  there is a restaurant where my son works and I've been interested in checking it out.  we shall see what happens.  I really should get ready soon.  the kids may pick me up to bring me to the Sephardi clan.  I will dress in flats because there will be plenty of going up and down steps tonight.  isn't sukkot grand!!

Friday, September 21, 2018

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Sukkot

it is10:00 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  my neighbor just finished putting up the frame of my sukkah.  I was not planning on putting up the sukkah this year.  the kids are spending the first part of the holiday with the Sephardi clan.  I am sure I can wrangle a place there, too.  it will be sheer madness. the ladies will be going up and down a very steep stairwell to bring the food into the sukkah.  I declined to go there the last couple of years because I dreaded the stairwell.  I haven't made up my mind yet.  who knows?  perhaps, I won't be included this year.

yesterday, I made up about 250 tiny cellophane baggies for the Sephardi family's bas mitzvah next week.  I no longer make chocolates.  I buy chewy candies and stuff one into the cellophane baggie and close it with a sticker for the appropriate occasion.  this crowd loves their candy.  I am planning on going to Jerusalem next week for a few days and the daughter-in-law is planning on going to the cousin's bat mitzvah in hadera.  I am covering all of the bases.  I am trying to be flexible.

I went to the supermarket twice and stocked up on chicken wings, lamb kabobs, hamburgers, steaks and franks for the second half of the holiday.  my son likes to barbecue in the daytime.  I cooked some chicken and meatballs and froze them for the night meal next week.  I also bought prepared salads and kugel so if I decide to stay longer in Jerusalem, we will have food already prepared. I am not much in the mood for baking so I bought prepared cakes.  I still need to make something to eat for Shabbat.  I'm not so inspired.

I managed to fall off of a plastic chair a couple of days before Rosh Hashanah.  I was hanging curtains in a bedroom downstairs and went flying off of the chair.  I broke the fall with my elbow and wrist and then the back got the shock of hitting the stone floor.  I was extremely lucky to have not fallen on my head or directly onto my back.  it was miraculous that I didn't break my arm.  I was in a lot of pain for the holiday and shabbat.  I got sick and spent the second day of Rosh Hashanah in bed.  not my finest hour.  I did manage to hear the shofar blowing in synagogue.

I got through yom kippur pretty easily.  I am still feeling sore parts of my body from the fall.  it was hard to cough at the beginning as the ribs were bruised.  I was not looking forward to lifting the metal polls of the sukkah.  I managed to bring them up from the storage area downstairs, but didn't get very far into the construction.  I didn't remember exactly how to do it.  my 9 year old grandson put it together for me last year in about 6 minutes.  I dreaded climbing the ladder to place the wooden boards on top.  now, I don't need to.  living in a Sephardi neighborhood and looking old has its benefits.

the men here are strong and macho.  building a sukkah is a guys' thing, anyway.  women are not even commanded to eat in them.  I don't know why I even bothered this year.  I am planning on being away.  I have to tie the material around the sukkah now.  it is a big drag.  I don't really feel like hanging all of my plastic fruits up,either.  my back hurts and my knee is on the fritz.  last year we had a family cook out.  we had over 20 people downstairs.  a few of the men had to squeeze into the small sukkah.  I used to put up one that was 4x2 meters.  now I only put up a 2x2 meter sukkah.  four can sit comfortably.  I am not planning on having any guests.

I saw my sister before yom kippur.  she wished me a holiday greeting and ran off.  that was our first exchange in over a year since our blow out.  it was bittersweet.  it is what it is.  I am hoping this year to be stronger and wiser.  I do not want to judge anyone nor do I want to get hurt so easily by others.  of course, this is easier said than done.  it requires building stronger personal borders and not having any expectations of people.  it also requires seeing others' differences as interesting and not hurtful.  enough of the pyscho babble for now.   I am off to the supermarket to return the empty bottles.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Shana Tova 2018

it's been ages since I blogged.  I went back to the yeshiva about three weeks ago.  I have been pretty much on my own there and buying, whatever food items I need.  the pantry is pretty much depleted.  while my sister was visiting, I tried making up fast meals and didn't stay too long at the yeshiva.  needless to say, my pay check was pretty skimpy this month.  I will be going on another break right after Yom Kippur.  I do not think I am needed during the week of sukkot.

the kids very much want me to go to Jerusalem for Rosh Hashanah.  I don't have the strength to make such a long trip for just a few days.  I prefer to go while I am on vacation and stay for the week.  I don't think that it will work out for me this time.  I am playing it loose.  if I am meant to be in Jerusalem, so be it.

I haven't been sleeping so well.  now that I don't have the added burden of picking up the grandkids, I go into work much later.  I also, get home much later.  I have been coming home after seven, lately.  we have been suffering, yet, another, heat wave.  it really takes its toll.  I spent hours the other day defrosting both freezers.  I was throwing around ice and snow and I was soaking wet.  it felt so good.

the guys went to a wedding last night and didn't put the food, that I prepared for supper, into the fridge.  I tasted the stew and the couscous and it was still good.  this is nothing short of a miracle.  even the tomato salad was in tact.  I served it to them for lunch and they all raved about it.  they said it was better than the wedding food.  I was very happy not to have had to prepare lunch today.

I ended up making a tuna loaf, baked beets and a sweet noodle kugel for their supper.  I went to town to do some errands after work.  I didn't get much accomplished.  I did manage to get to the fresh fish store and bought a few slices of carp and a huge fish head.  it isn't Rosh Hashanah without a cooked fish head at the head of the table.  one year I made a fourth of a sheep's head.  that was my ode to the Sephardic tradition.  my son had been bugging me for years to make one.  he kind of paled at the sight of it.  my grandson thought it was great and the two of us devoured it.  it was truly yummy.

I am not planning on having guests this holiday. I will be going to friends for the first night.  I am bringing the fish, and the different symbolic foods.  I may also bring some brisket.  my other friend has a huge brisket in her freezer and I have agreed to braise it in my toaster oven.  we are thinking beer and a pomegranate sauce. 

I already bought: carrots, pomegranates, leeks, black eyed peas, pumpkin, dates, beets and beet leaves. are we having fun?  my friend might bake small challahs.  I need to bake a honey cake for my daughter-in-law's father.  he loves my whole wheat version.  I already bought the pre- sifted organic whole wheat flour, honey and organic brown cane sugar.  I am playing with the idea of using coconut oil.  why not?? last year's hamentashen were great.

I don't have to work on Friday so I think I will do most of the cooking and baking.  i'll leave the veggies for sunday.  I think i'll make honey bars for my friend and myself.  I've been hitting the sugar as of late.  I'm not going to be very svelte this Rosh Hashanah.  oh well......

it was a difficult visit this summer.  my older sister ran back and forth between me and my other sister, who is still not speaking with me.  she did invite me to meet for coffee via older sister.  I declined her offer.  I got to hear her complaints against me, via big sister and it made me go into a tailspin.  my niece gave birth to a son and I wasn't included in the simcha.  my other niece came in from India with her kids and brand new daughter and didn't come to see me this time, either.  it hurt.

there was just so much psyche drama babble and hurt feelings to deal with.  my sister staged my house and decluttered my walls.  she works in the real estate market in L.A.  she did a marvelous job.  she made the house mine.  my deceased parents are now featured in the background.  my shrine to my mom and her candlesticks has been dismantled.  I just wish we could have had some fun together.

I had friends staying with me for the klezmer music festival.  we were in a party mood.  one night we barbecued.  I only got to the music festival one night.  it was way too busy in my house.  my sister didn't get any quality time.  I was also, too crazy to listen to her speak.  after every mention of my feuding sister, I went slightly insane.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

I'm Still Here

it is midnight in the holy city of safed.  I just finished doing a touch up paint job on the wall in the roof top apartment.  a friend is coming tomorrow and will be staying upstairs.  I washed the parquet floor, too.  yesterday, I washed the bathroom and kitchenette and swept the bird poo and dirt from the balcony.  it looks pretty clean.  I will carry up the bed and mattress in the morning.  I do not have the strength right now.  I thought my friend would prefer the air-conditioned apartment but the breezes downstairs are simply wonderful.  I was cold last night with the fans.

my sister is coming for an extended visit on Monday.  I know she has trouble with dust and I'm not sure if the upstairs will be suitable for her.  as much as I cleaned my house; it is still dusty everywhere.  I just washed the kitchen floor with soap and lots of bleach.  I did the living room floor, too.  I still have pieces of toys and kids' chactchkas in the room.  I sorted out the puzzles and legos a while ago.

my son and family moved to Jerusalem about three weeks ago.  I watched the kids for a few days while they got the apartment in order.  I also cooked every day at the yeshiva.  the kids were in a day camp.  after they left I took apart the house, collecting toys and kids' stuff from every room.  I managed to organize it all except for a few pieces of stuff in the living room.  I went on hiatus from the yeshiva and went to Jerusalem to see the kids.  I was supposed to be there for Shabbat but I ended up staying for a week.  no one wanted me to leave.  not even my son.

I came back last week on an express bus.  it took us 5 hours to get back to safed.  I was exhausted.  I went to a friend for Shabbat lunch and then I went into a huge funk.  I didn't leave my house for an entire week.  I didn't get dressed nor did I bathe.  it was like an emotional shiva.  I spent all day and night watching videos about covert narcissists.  I was transfixed.  I went through my entire psychic life span.  I remembered so many more details of having been manipulated and used by certain family members.

I hardly ate but that was fine because I overate in Jerusalem.  we did have an extreme heat wave but I wasn't phased.  I was inside and my house was cool.  I spoke for hours to friends complaining about my sister with whom I'm estranged.  I was in emotional hell.  my friend was supposed to come on Wednesday and stay for Shabbat.  she changed her plans which gave me another couple of days to mope around.  on Thursday, I had a 2 hour phone call with my brother, the psychologist.  he actually helped me get out of my funk. 

on Thursday evening, I went downstairs and plastered the lower part of the walls of the master bedroom downstairs.  they were a mess.  on Friday morning, I got out of bed and showered.  I got dressed, too.  I went downstairs to do laundry and painted the freshly plastered walls.  it looks pretty good.  I then went to the supermarket to buy fish, cans of tuna, chicken cutlets, eggs, and a bit of fruit.  I still need to buy veggies but we can all go down to the supermarket together.  I bought tons of organic food for my friend who's macrobiotic and tons of protein for my sister who's diabetic.

tomorrow I am going to meet up with my friend in Netanya and we will visit a mutual dear friend together.  we had our last reunion about 4 years ago.  it should be great fun.  this is the first summer that I am not watching the kids.  it is a big change in my life.  I hope my visit with my sister will go smoothly.  I am afraid that she is on a mission to bring peace to the middle east between her two sisters.  in the meanwhile, my niece has been here all summer from india, and hasn't called, and her sister just gave birth and I wasn't notified.  the bris in on Monday in safed and of course, I haven't been invited.  so I stand up and move and get on with my plans to see my friends.  they are my family.

Sunday, July 22, 2018


it is 9:00 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  we started our 26 hour tisha b'av fast last night.  only 11 hours to go.  this commemorates the destruction of the holy temple.  unlike the fast of yom kippur; only observant jews keep this one.  for the rest of the population, it's business as usual.  restaurants and businesses are all open.  the cable television broadcasting is on its usual schedule.

I spent the entire Friday cleaning my house.  for ten hours, I washed all of the rooms except for the living room on my floor and all of the rooms downstairs.  I may be having summer renters.  I ran out to buy a small fridge for the downstairs.  I am short three bed frames and may have to sort this out after the fast.  I haven't received any confirmations yet.  I haven't wanted to rent the downstairs for a couple of years but the in-laws called me about specific dates and families.  we will see what happens.

the grandchildren are now reunited with their parents and living in Jerusalem.  the daughter-in-law returned on Wednesday and took the kids back with her on Thursday.  I am planning on visiting them on Thursday.  I will stay for a few days.  my friend will house and dog sit for me and we will see how it all goes down.  unfortunately, there is no cellphone reception in their new house and calling them is very hard.  my granddaughter called on friday morning and I couldn't get back to her until just before  candle lighting on Friday evening.  it was very jarring on my nerves.

I told each of the grandkids to call me when they missed me.  my granddaughter was a bit upset, too.  this is going to be a huge change in our lives.  most people think I have fallen apart.  not yet, I have been too busy getting the house back in order.  I have been cleaning up all of the slime and collecting and organizing all of the lego pieces, toys and chactchkas.  I am almost finished.  I have a good friend coming to visit soon and my sister is coming in mid august.  I managed to pack up the toys and dolls that the kids wanted to take to Jerusalem on wednesday.  I had bought travel bags in the supermarket for 10 shekels each.

I have been very stressed lately at work and home.  while the kids were at day camp, I cooked at the yeshiva so I could pick them up at 1:00 p.m. when the family couldn't bring them to me.  I had to schlepp around in the heat wave with them to town to buy treats and toys and go to a movie.  up here, we had pizza twice and of course, more treats and toys. it was an intense few days.  work was a balagon, as usual.  I had last minute requests to make a million sandwiches and incorrect information about the count for meals.  I was told to cook for only 5 on Thursday.  the rest of the students were supposed to be going to Jerusalem.

I took my time coming to work because I knew I had enough food in the freezer for the 5 guys.  I quickly defrosted black bean patties and stuffed peppers.  I had leftover spaghetti and roasted eggplant and veggies, too.  I boiled up some eggs, to boot.   I concentrated on making the supper.  I fried up about 50 or more chickpea and bulgur patties, made a pot of rice and roasted a pan of potatoes.  I even made a cole slaw.  I had to get home by 3:00 p.m. because the new fridge was being delivered.  I had to do the washing up and floor and I was nearly finished.  just then the young manager came in to let me know that all 16 guys were there and needed lunch. 

I had left home without my cellphone that day.  I guess he had tried to call me at some point.  I went into zelda rescue mode.  I put out the chickpea patties for lunch and took out the filling of the stuffed peppers, which was buckwheat and couscous and bulgur in a tomato sauce.  I should have just cut the peppers in half.  they were gigantic.  no one ate that mixture.  meanwhile, I left the kitchen in a mess and taxied home to be there for the delivery men.  I returned back to the yeshiva at 5:00 p.m. and made a zucchini soufflĂ© to go with the rice and roasted potatoes, I had already prepared for dinner.  I washed all of the pots and pans and counters and floor and left about 6:30 p.m.   I got home and I was in a manic state.  the kids were on their way to Jerusalem and I started cleaning up the house and grabbing toys.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Shabbat Shalom Once More

it is noontime in the holy city of safed.  I just finished washing the kitchen floor.  yesterday was slime day at the gleich home.  it took me forever to wash out the containers and wash off the kitchen table.  the granddaughter is a slime addict.  I think all girls these days are.  the grandson doesn't really have the patience to make it.  he is a lego genius.  I spent about 100 shekels yesterday on food dye, glue and persil.  the granddaughter reached for the persil and glue a little while ago.  I did not allow her to make more slime today. 

I am planning on taking them to a local playground to let out some steam.  it seems to be a bit cooler today.  their parents are coming back from Jerusalem for Shabbat.  they will be having Shabbat dinner at the Sephardi clan tonight.  I don't think I want to go.  I hope they won't be making a goodbye party.  I am not up for one.  the kids are relocating to Jerusalem on sunday.  my son has been working there since april.  the kids will stay with me for a few days while their mom gets the house in order.

I will be on break from the yeshiva at the end of the month and plan to travel there to visit for a few days.  we will see how that goes.  my sister will be coming in mid august for two weeks.  she is arriving the night before the klezmer music festival starts.  it is always a giant balagon in safed during those three days.  busses are on holiday schedule and it is a giant mess.  I hope to, at least, go to the festival once.  we will see how the sister feels.

I would love to throw my sister an early birthday party.  she turns 70 in October.  I am also hosting a graduation party for a friend later this month.  she is getting some sort of degree form Haifa university.  I was able to get graduation stickers and cardboard graduation hats.  I will also make other props.  I live for party themes. 

I have been working pretty hard at the yeshiva.  the manager and rabbi there have been giving me last minute and inaccurate instructions for a couple of weeks.  each time the guys went on a hike or trip I was expected to make them sandwiches.  I had completed making 48 omelet sandwiches one morning; only to find out that I needed 60.  of course, I had run out of bread and eggs.  yesterday I was told to make sandwiches for them.  the only problem was that they were leaving at 8:00 a.m.  I couldn't stay any longer the day before because the kids were with me and they were restless.  and after nearly 5 hours of cooking and standing on my feet, i had no energy to make sandwiches.

I managed to get into work at 8:00 a.m. and it took two hours to make 50 hot dog sandwiches.  included in that time, was folding sheets of paper towel around each sandwich; as we didn't have any napkins.  it also took time to spread ketchup on each sandwich and place them into baggies.  I also was asked to make them dinner.  I quickly made two batches of white rice, two tuna loafs and a pan of stir fried squash and eggplant.  at 11:00 a.m. I couldn't find any young men to take the sandwiches to the designated rendezvous in Tiberius.   I also learned that the guys were having a pizza party after the hike.  so all the work and food I made for dinner was in vain.  let it go.  I was paid for my time.

I do not know how much longer I can work there.  starting next week there will only be a few guys there.  I will only have the kids with me for a few more days and then I will be on my own.  I hate to go in to work for just 3 or 4 hours.  I will see what transpires.  in the meanwhile, I have spent my entire salary this month already.  I went to the supermarket yesterday and spent over $100.  my debit card was refused.  I had to run back home to get cash.  I need to put some money into my account on sunday before some payment is returned.  are we having fun yet?

the kids are coming here for Shabbat lunch.  I bought fresh corn and a noodle kugel.  I will probably make another shepherd's pie with chopped turkey.  I also bought soy bean pods.  the kids are crazy for these.  we have a huge watermelon for dessert.  I doubt that I will have the energy to bake a cake.  i have dried fruits and seeds and nuts to nash.  i bought plenty of drinks.  i even got strawberry Bacardi breeze's for the daughter-in-law and myself.

i spent a fortune on markers and drawing papers for the kids and my niece's kids, if they come to visit.  if not, i will schlep it to Jerusalem when i come to visit them.  i need to watch my spending now.  my pension and paychecks come in at the end of the month.  after that i will not be spending blindly.  i hope it will be alright.  i stopped writing checks.  i have been mainly using cash and my bebit card.  i think i have learned my lesson.