it's 7:00 p.m. in the cold and holy city of zefat. it feels like snow. it was a good day to be indoors. i got up early this morning and took a very hot shower to try to warm up the old body. the house is really uncomfortable. i guess it's okay to just sit on the couch under the comforter huddled with the two dogs under me. but to do the dishes or cook, is really pushing it. i have two sinks full of dishes right now, but i can't face the cold in the kitchen. i'm planning on staying home tomorrow so i guess i'll catch up on the dishes between babysitting for sahar.
i went to the old age center this morning and everyone in the memory loss group seemed to remember me despite my two week absence. i was afraid that i might get the boot because i missed so much time, but everyone greeted me with sincere warmth. i guess being a 'people pleaser', i'm always on the defensive. the head of the unit was busy showering some of the group today, so i was left alone in the room for a while with the group. i did my best to keep up the conversations with everyone.
my favorite person in the group, murray, was at home today. he's the elderly man from brooklyn who reminds me so much of my dad. there is an elderly sephardi man who is a real character too and he also reminds me of my dad. one of the men, who is recovering from a stroke, started a conversation with me on his own. when he heard me telling one of the ladies that we lived in the same neighborhood, he informed me that he also lived in that neighborhood. he was spot on! as they say in england. a little while later, the occupational therapist tried to get him to name the colors of the clothes pins but he was absolutely, stumped. i tried to let her know that he was very clear when he engaged me in a conversation, but i don't think she believed me.
the morning was moving along very slowly and one of the ladies, who never participates in any of the activities, kept saying it was time to go home. she had absolutely no patience to be there. earlier on, she actually smiled at me and seemed in a good mood for a change. the last time i saw her she scowled at me the entire morning. when i tried to hug her she pulled away as if i had tried to kill her.
a russian lady came again to play the electric organ for the group. i was left alone to sing for the group for a while. i actually felt like dancing. i clapped my hands through the entire concert and encouraged everyone else to do so, too. one of the ladies played the cymbals, while two others played tambourines, and the stroke patient played the xylophone. the angry lady actually looked like she was enjoying herself for a bit. the romanian lady who lives alone and is seemingly withdrawn, clapped her hands with me. i actually enjoyed myself.
i helped serve them their lunch and by then it was time to go home. i thanked them for having me and promised to come back next week. i then ran to town to pick up a package for my daughter in law. i bought a large coffee and walked over to the unemployment office, which recently opened up after a month's strike. i went to the local grocery to buy some pomegranates but they didn't have any. so i walked to the fruit store on the other side of town and bought three huge ones. i'm finally set for tu b'shvat.
i'm planning to do a seder on friday night which includes drinking 4 glasses of wine or grape juice like we do on pesach. the only difference is that i'll be using tiny wine glasses or shot glasses for this event. for a change, we will make kiddush on white grape juice or wine but we'll have our usual challah afterwards. we then will sample the fruits for which the land of israel is praised. that includes dates, figs, olives, pomegranates, grapes, and barley. we will then sample some citrons, apples, walnuts, almonds, carobs, and pears. there will be an additional 18 fruits incorporated in the meal itself and the dessert. yes, all together, we will be sampling 30 fruits.
i'm planning on making a chestnut soup, an orange and mango salsa, a fennel and pistachio salad, a thai lychee coconut chicken dish and a szechuan cashew chicken dish. there will also be lemon and garlic poached fish fillets, a carrot tsimis with dried apricots, prunes and peaches, humus with pine nuts, a red cabbage and pecan slaw, an avocado and lemon spread, and a salad of cherries and macadamia nuts. i'm also thinking of making a spinach salad with sliced oranges and red onions. i'm going to make a non gluten coconut carob souffle for dessert. i'm hoping to bake some carob brownies and blueberry muffins for shabbat morning. and i'm thinking about making a batch of oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies, too. after all, chocolate does come from trees.
i have to babysit tomorrow so we'll see how much i can accomplish. at 8:30 p.m. my son asked me to watch the baby as he walked his wife to the bus stop on the next street. that was 3 1/2 hours ago and i just finished my babysitting stint fo the night.