Friday, May 28, 2010

She's Back

i know that it's been awhile since i last blogged. honestly, i've been in a blurr lately. like the "days of wine and roses", i went into a sugar induced binge and was out of commission for a few days. i've also been babysitting full time for sahar and as hard as it is to admit, it harder than i thought it would be.

he's still very much controllable, but i find the lifting (he's 18 1/2 pounds) and the sheer amount of hours, very tiring. gal's sister has been home from high school and has taken care of him so i got to go to yoga twice this week. she's off next week so i'll be able to do my volunteer work and go to yoga.

after shavuot, i went into a sugar frenzy. i gained over 5 pounds and have been unsuccessfully, able to knock them off. we have had a bit of strange weather lately, which i'm sure is due to the volcanic ash from iceland. yesterday, it was unbearably, hot and the sky was dark and grey. it rained in the early morning, which is very unusual for israel. there was a dryness in the air and the sky was smokey. my eyes were burning and my nose started running. it looked and felt like the end of days.

i went to netanya yesterday for a friend's son's wedding. we had a mini bus pick us up so the travelling was quite comfortable. on the way there, we witnessed the most unusual sunset, ever. the sky was grey, the color of ash, and the sun was white. when it set there was no color in the sky. there was no bright orange or red, as the norm. it was the creepiest sight that i have ever seen!

the wedding was in an old and slightly delapidated hall but the simcha was inmeasurable. it was a 'sanzer' chassidic wedding and there were hundreds of people in attendance. i tried on all of my stretchy, synthethic, black clothing, but nothing seemed to fit because my stomach was a bit 'poofy'. i knew what the costumery at the event would look like, but in the end, i opted for comfort and chose a full length, colored, paisley print, cotton dress. i wore my short wig and was able to comb it to suit my liking. i wore a set of natural pinkish, purpleish pearls, with matching hanging earrings. the set was a gift from my niece, who hand picked each pearl, and designed the jewelry when she was in india.

my niece returned from new dehli this week, and i visited with them all evening long. mendush, who is 13 months old didn't quite remember me. i bought him this rolling ball toy, that makes a lot of noise and music. sahar loves this. but poor, mendush was afraid of his. he kept on crawling over to touch it and would then crawl away from it ,as fast as he could. they are planning on returning to india for good. it's very hard to think about this.

i finally made it over to the city tax office to pay my bills. in the end, they gave me an 80% discount on my real estate tax bill. they never came to investigate and i never received a letter or any type of notice. i just received an updated reduced bill. i waited for a couple of weeks because of my babysitting schedule, and they fined me over 3o$ and put a stop order on my bank account. my trying to talk with the new manager proved useless as always. i simply, paid the fine and after a two hour wait, got out of the office.

i then walked over to the new water office and paid those bills. it was very cave like and i started to feel claustraphobic. i had to leave and get a coffee. i tried very hard not to freak out and leave for good. i do not do well with dome shaped ceilings. interestingly, it's not the size of the room that gets me feeling closed in. i was afraid to list my son and his wife as co-residents because i feared that i might lose my discount. so i'm paying a ransom in water beacuse i'm using more than the state's alotment. you simply, cannot win here.

i tried my darndest, yesterday, to spruce up my appearance. i put on two shades of eyeshadow and a real lipstick. i even, smeared a bit of rouge on my cheeks. it was not easy to do because of the loss of peripheral vision in my right eye. i was afraid that i might have overdone it. i haven't worn makeup in over a year. i do have to admit, that i felt like a mentch and i received many compliments. it's been a long time coming! i sat with a group of women, all american, and all from the past. it was really good to get out again. i even got up and danced a bit. zelda was back again!

it's 3:00 p.m. on a friday afternoon in the holy city of zefat and i've been having a real lazy morning. i watched sahar for a couple of hours outside and he got really 'schmutzy' so i raced him upstairs to gove him a bath. i left him alone for a moment and i heard the crash of breaking glass. i raced over to him and picked him off the floor. he had reached up for a candle in a small glass dish and knocked it over. thank the Lord up above that he wasn't hurt. he definately, needs to be confined to a playpen now.

i still need to do some laundry and wash the floors. my apartment is slightly trashed. i think that i might just stay home by myself tonight and have a quiet shabbat. tomorrow, i'll visit my family in the afternoon and go see the 'clan' afterwards. i wish everyone a great shabbat!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Twas The Night Before Shavuot

it's 2:00 a.m. on monday night/ tuesday morning in the holy city of zefat. i have just left my kitchen. i also just tossed an entire lasagna into the garbage. i made it a couple of hours ago. i spent the entire day taking care of my grandson. i looked forward to getting into the kitchen to cook for tomorrow night's holiday. i started to get into my preparation's 'groove' at about 6:00 p.m.

i prepared my batter for the blintzes, and i made the filling. i also started grating the mozarella and other cheeses for the lasagna on a 2-3 inch hand grater. i whipped up the cheeses for the tiramisu cheese cake and i started to split the lady fingers. guess what? israeli lady fingers don't split. they also do not keep their shape.

anyhow, i was on a roll when my son brought down the baby for me to watch. his mother went for a stroll and his father had to go to synagogue. i figured, it was a good time to take a break. the parents came home finally and took the baby upstairs, and once again, i got really busy. i tried out my new non- stick blintz pan and it was really easy. i don't know why i've been avoiding making blintzes for all these years. i put the cheese cake into the oven. i started to get out the lasagna noodles when, i was interupted, once again.

my daughter-in-law came down to make her icebox cheese cake. they are missing a light in their kitchen which makes it difficult to function, once it's dark. they also didn't want to wake the baby up with the noise from the electric hand mixer. i got out of the way and left her the counter space. i started to assemble my blintzes on the kitchen table. i must say that the blintzes looked great. that was before i overbaked them in the toaster oven. they're kind of dry and rubbery now. i guess that's why i've always bought the frozen prepared ones.

i was just about to start the lasagna sauce when my son brought the baby back down for his mother to nurse. the mother kept on making her cakes and chocolate balls while i ended up watching the baby. they finally went upstairs for the night and i made a vat of tomato sauce. i also baked a chocolate cake in the shape of the 'ten commandments'. unfortunately, the hebrew letters are imprinted on the back side of the cake and not on the shiny, top side. now i'll need to buy some type of white frosting tomorrow to fill in the hebrew letters.

i rushed to get the lasagna sauce made and i didn't taste the tomato puree. this turned out to be, one giant mistake. i don't know if i diced up way too much garlic, which could have rendered the sauce to be bitter; or if the tomato puree was rotten from the start. all i know is that i kept on tasting it and it got more bitter with each tasting. i breaded and fried the eggplant to make eggplant parmesan, but i didn't use the rest of the sauce. i tossed it out with the lasagna and made a new sauce. why ruin another dish.

i can't believe that i have to make another lasagna tomorrow. i have the baby until 2:00 p.m. and i still have a ton of laundry to do. i also have to clean up the house and wash the floors. they're trashed from all the baking. i almost feel like chucking the blintzes too, but i'll just have to find a way to doctor them.

i must get to bed now because i have to be up at 8:00 a.m to get the baby. are we having fun yet? HAPPY HOLIDAY to one and all! good yom tov! please pray that i don't get botulism or food poisoning from the bad can of tomato paste.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finally Got A Remedy

it's sunday morning in the holy city of zefat. in another hour i am going to the funeral of a young soldier girl who was killed in thursday's bus accident. the arab driver plowed into a truck that was parked on the side of the road. apparently, the egged bus company gave him a warning recently, after another malfeasance, to get his act together or be fired. one other man around my age, was also killed. he worked in the local unemployment office and left behind five unmarried children and his wife. the town is in shock this week.

i went to the homeopath on friday and spilled my guts. she gave me something but didn't tell me it's name. i have had good results with her so i trust her totally. i went to dinner on friday night with the clan. i started feeling an extreme fatigue at the dinner table. it was a bit of a feat to walk home that night.

i woke up at about 11:00 a.m. on shabbat morning. i stared at the clock and went back to sleep. i could not get out of bed. i finally got up around 2:00 p.m. and drank a coffee. it made me nauseous. i tried to eat a sour green apple but i couldn't get it down. i went back to bed and tried to read the weekend magazine. my head was sore and i was a bit out of it.

i started to say my morning prayers at around 3:00 p.m. i finally got up and made kiddush at around 4:00 p.m. i had an avocado and some chumus on a whole wheat roll and went back to bed. i was feeling woozy and very disconnected. the next time i looked up at the clock it was 8:00 p.m. and then it was 9:00 p.m. i felt like i was on an LSD trip. time just kept moving on and i was not with the program. i finally got up to make havdallah about 9:30 p.m. the kids came home at about 10:00 p.m.

i held sahar for a moment but he was too heavy and i felt that i might drop him at any moment. i asked zvi to take out the garbage for me. i had forgotten that sometime during the day, i had retrieved a dead bird from cloey's dog bed. zvi looked at me and realized that i wasn't all there.

i watched 'american idol' but was i very uncomfortable. i started having excruciating leg pain. it has now gone to my arms and lower back. are we having fun yet? i'm suppposed to be making the shavuot spread today. gal started her job this morning and sahar is spending the day with his other grandmother and teenage aunt. my goals today were laundry, floors , cheesecake, and lasagna. it is extremely hot and i am going down to the cemetery and will probably bake down there. i cannot see myself meeting my goals today. i can't imagine walking to the corner but i must get up now. to be continued.....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Dirty Rat!

it's nearly 1:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat and i'm wide awake. my heart is racing a bit because we just caught a huge rat upstairs in the kid's apartment. i got home at around midnight from my sister's and the kids came home shortly afterwards.

i missed yoga this morning because i couldn't fall asleep last night. i finally stopped staring at the clock on the wall at around 5:00 a.m. i jumped up at 8:30 a.m. and really made an effort to get ready to go. i felt a bit nauseous and shaky so i went back to sleep. i didn't stir again until noon. yesterday i woke up at 9:30 a.m. when i was due downtown at a play rehearsal. i had also gone to bed after 5:00 a.m. i absolutely couldn't move from the bed. gal had already left with sahar for the day and i hadn't even heard them leave.

i spent the entire day stuffing food down my throat. i ate all of the almonds and cashews and consumed an entire bag of frozen blueberries. i lost track of how many containers of cheese and yogurt i wolfed down. i even ate a salmon steak and a huge bowl of noodles, later that night. i weighed myself this morning and i have gained 3 kilos. i was hoping to lose a little weight for a wedding next week. oh well!

i made up last night to make a birthday cake for my neice today. i was supposed to bring it over before she left this evening to party with her friends. i bought a really nice top for her in town on tuesday. i had offered to make dinner for the family but was turned down. i guess it was just as well since i wasn't really up to snuff the past couple of days.

i managed to bake the cake around 4:00 p.m. i used one cup of rye flour and two cups of white flour. and i used a cup each of both white and brown sugar. i used a cup of banana liqeur for the liquid. someone gave it to me for a present on tu b'shvat. when exactly, does one serve banana liqeur, anyway? i decided to make some chocolate lollypops to decorate the cake. i tried melting a bag of chocolate chips but it didn't melt right. it became a ball of semi- hardened chocolate. i added a little oil, which made it worse. i also added a bit of wine, which totally, ruined it. i ended up tossing it. i looked at the package and realized that it was from pesach. for some unknown reason, the pesach chocolate chips do not melt. go know!

i realized that i had to go down to the supermarket below and buy some more chocolate chips. i decided to take sahar with me. gal was also out of diapers so i volunteered to get some. sahar was not a happy camper. i was tempted to take him out of the stroller but i feared that i wouldn't be able to get him back in. he eventually, chilled out in the store. a small bag of bambas goes a long way. i had to schlep home the stroller and the diapers because there was no delivery service. this was not an easy feat. i had to keep stopping to rest my hands.

i couldn't find chocolate chips with the proper kashrut certificate so i bought a package of chunky baking chocolate. it melts easily and makes better chocolate molds. it doesn't taste as good as the chips but i was going for the 'visual' here. i even poured some melted chocolate over the top of the cake and added a few colored sprinkles. it was, way, too hot, to start playing around with whipped cream icing today.

my sister called to let me know that she was going to tiberias and wouldn't be home until 6:30 p.m. gal needed to go to the pharmacy and was planning to take sahar along. he started fussing in the stroller so i told her to leave him with me. i was in no hurry to get to my sister's. gal and zvi met up at the supermarket and returned home at 8.00 p.m. i had a strong feeling that my neice was no longer at home. nevertheless, i jumped into a cab. i arrived shortly later to an empty apartment.

i had just heard the sad news that a bus had crashed on it's way back to zefat. i started to panick and fear that my sister, had been, somehow, involved in the accident. i started to have palpitations. i left the gift and the cake on the kitchen table, and went downstairs to see if i could find my sister. first, i searched the grocery store. i bought some rolls and a magazine for shabbat and made my way to the fruit store. i decided to buy some fruit for shavuot, which falls out on tuesday night. i decided to make a cheese and fruit platter. i bought cherries, apricots, nectarines, melon, kiwis, grapes, and apples.

by the time i got back upstairs, my sister had finally come home. she phoned my niece, who was already in town with her friends. my niece said that it was very cute that i had made a cake and come over to wish her a happy birthday. she then blessed me and i blessed her back. she also apologized for not being home. apparently, no one had told her about our 'plans'. i stayed until midnight schmoozing with my sister. i had a salmon steak and coffee before i left.

i returned home to find a note from the kids. they had gone to town with sahar. i couldn't imagine why they had schlepped the kid out in the cold. they came home about ten minutes later. then i heard zvi call down to me that they had a huge rat upstairs. oddly, i have been thinking about rats all week long. i ran downstairs to get a trap and brought cloey, the pincher and 'ratter' dog upstairs with me. she immediately, went into action and was sniffing the situation out.

eventually, the rat made a mad dash towards the bathroom. cloey followed the rat. i followed cloey into the bathroom and quickly shut the door when i saw the rat. thank goodness, the rat was confined to just the bathroom. zvi came in with a broom and swatted the rat on the head. i never knew he had it in him. all i could think about, was the potential danger to innocent, little, sahar, fast asleep in his crib. zvi, pretty much, immobilized the rat and cloey took over from there. next, i had to get the deceased rat out of cloey's tightly, clamped - shut mouth. somehow, i managed to retreive it in one piece. i then cleaned up all of the blood from the bathroom floor. i then wished everyone a good night and disposed of the dead rat and all of the garbage outside.

shabbat shalom!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday All Day Long

it's 7:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. it's hot! we are having a desert heat wave here. there is no air. i'm not much of a water drinker and coffee tends to dehydrate the body. i basically, only drink coffee, so i have been experiencing dizziness whenever i stand up.

i spent about four hours on friday doing laundry. i usd the dryer even though it would have been quicker to have the clothes dry outside in the sun. there is so much dog hair on the clothes, that i'm forced to use the dryer for the kids clothes. they really like the smell of the dryer sheets but i know that they are bothered by the dog hairs. i try my best to accomodate them. i work very hard on getting the food and poop stains out of the baby clothes, too. unfortunately, the american washing machines don't run on hot water here. i have to pretreat the baby clothes. that doesn't always do the trick so i've taken to pouring boiling water over them while they soak.

i was too tired and wiped out to go out on friday night. i threw some salmon steaks in the oven just before shabbat and made good with frozen pitas. i had some humus in the fridge and a red pepper. i was satisfied with the meal and went to bed early. i woke up early on saturday and said my prayers at home. i made my own kiddush and had a salmon steak and pita for lunch. later in the day, i walked down to see my sister in canaan. it was very warm but doable. i spent the rest of the day there and walked home in the evening. i went to bed well after 3:00 a.m.

i woke up on sunday at 8:30 a.m. and quickly roused myself, said the morning blessings, drank a coffee and shovelled in a spoon of peanut butter and ran to yoga on the next block. i didn't do much more the rest of the day. i did babysit for sahar so the kids could go to a lecture.

this morning i got up at 9:00 a.m and ran upstairs to get sahar. his mommy went to the beach in tiberius with her sisters. they returned at 5:00 p.m. i fed him gerber baby fruit mash, three bottles of formula, and a dish of over mushy rice that looked like puree. i gave him watered down juice and some tea but all i drank was coffee. he started to stand in his playpen today. boy, was he excited!

i'm planning on spending the morning tomorrow with the seniors. next week, gal begins a full time job. i also begin a, more or less, full time babysitting gig. she is also starting a course to become an accountant. i am going to be one busy grandma.

i think that i am hosting the kids for shavuot. in this heat it's hard to plan any thing. i think i'll stick with the lasagna and eggplant parmesan and i'll make one cheesecake. we'll have a barbecue the next day in the afternoon. zvi will daven at the crack of dawn and can make kiddush on cheesecake and lasagna and go to sleep. i'll go to my shul and return home just in time for zvi to wake up and make a barbecue. sounds like a plan. i just have to get up and actually go to the supermarket one of these days to get all the ingredients.

it's my niece's birthday on thursday and of course, i'm thinking about making a dinner or a cake. i bought these new 'happy birthday' lollypop chocolate molds. the thing is that it's hard to make these molds in this type of heat wave.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This Week's Post

it's already thursday night and i haven't posted all week. the week just passed by and it all seems like a blur. i guess i've been babysitting alot and i'm just tired all the time.

i missed my yoga class on sunday. i went to sleep at 4:30 a.m. it was Lag B'omer here in the holy land. it was the anniversary of the passing of the great tsadick, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. it is customary to visit his grave in meron and pray for miracles. hundreds of thousands of people make the pilgrimage every year. the busses run all night long, from all over the country. you won't see this reported on the evening news.

we had unseasonably, cold and rainy weather over the shabbat. it cleared up on saturday night but it was freezing. gal and zvi went to meron at night. the crowds were so huge and unruly at the central bus station, that they couldn't get onto any of the busses at first. they tried again at around midnight. they left baby, sahar with the sephardi grandparents. i didn't attempt the trip at night. my eye has been bothering me all week long.

i don't know why i didn't go to sleep that night. i guess i was waiting up for the kids. i woke up on sunday morning and tried to get myself ready to go to yoga. my head was throbbing. i just couldn't get it together and went back to sleep. zvi called from town to ask if he could buy some steak and lambchops for a barbecue in the afternoon. he couldn't get to work because of the traffic. i was thinking about going to meron in the afternoon, but it didn't happen. i ended up eating way too much at the barbecue, and couldn't budge.

on monday, michal and i made up to meet on the 3:00 p.m. bus to town and we went to meron together. it was pretty full but nothing like the throngs of people that passed through the day before. we spent a couple of hours saying psalms and then returned to zefat. on the way back, i walked over to the supermarket to buy some staples and a lot of bottled water. i watched sahar for a while, so the kids could go for a walk.

i went to volunteer at the old age center on tuesday and returned at 2:00 p.m. i watched sahar for a short time while gal went to the dentist. i went to throw out the garbage and cookie, the dog, ran out. i put sahar in his stroller and got ready to take him for a short walk so he could fall asleep. i suddenly heard a terrible screeching noise. it sounded like some animal killing another animal. i quickly searched to make sure that cloey, the pincher dog, wasn't killing a cat or being killed by one. i looked down the stairs and saw cookie, crying, next to a huge roitweiler dog. i thought that she wasn't long for this world.

i started to scream and called for her to make a run back to the house. i quickly opened the gate and she made it back in and the roitweiler didn't. i was shaking. cookie was in shock. i was in shock, too. i wanted to kill the other dog. i held cookie in my arms for a moment to try and calm her down. in the meanwhile, cloey was standing at the gate with her head through the bars. i could very well, imagine the large dog snapping her head off. i tried to get cloey into the house but she kept on escaping and running back to the gate. all the while, sahar was cooing and playing with his fingers, totally unaware of what was happening.

i finally got cloey back into the house. i saw a little blood on cookie's chin so i got out the bottle of lavender oil. it is a great disinfectant. it's better than iodine! i also gave cookie a bunch of rescue remedy. i think that we were both traumatized for a few days. later that evening, i watched sahar for a few hours, while zvi and gal went to visit her younger brother in the hospital. apparently, he had walking pnemonia and had been in the hospital since sunday. no one had mentioned it to me earlier in the week.

yesterday, i watched sahar for a few hours during the day. i like to get down on all fours and race him. he likes it too. i went to yoga this morning and stopped by to visit gal's family. i stayed for just a while to see her brother and then walked to town and signed in at unemployment. i stopped off at the baby store and bought a new mattress and sheet for the playpen. i found it near the garbage just before pesach, and shlepped it home. the wooden bottom was a bit wharped and moldy and the foam mattress was ripped in a few places so i kept it at the side of the house. we finally brought it into the house and sahar absolutely, loves to play in it. go know! i thought about trying to repair the foam mattress with tape and contact paper, but it was easier and cheaper to buy a new one.

sahar is teething but so far he hasn't gotten any teeth. it's very painful for him to nurse and drink a bottle so i've been stuffing him with gerber appplesauce, mashed bananas and sweet potatoes. i even give him a little yogurt, too. the poor thing fell asleep on the couch while i was watching Dr. Phil. he was jabbering away at Phil for a bit before he passed out.

i don't have any guests for shabbat. but i do have a lot of laundry to catch up with .i just might stay in by myself and have a simple meal. and perhaps, i'll go to my sister's during the day. my sister did call to invite me for the night meal. i'll wait and see if i'm up for the walk tomorrow.

i still don't know if anyone is coming to me for shavuot. i bought a pan to make blintzes, not that i really ever do it. one year, i bought the prepared shells but it wasn't like anything that i had ever eaten. it was closer to the consistency of an egg roll. i usually make a meatless lasagna for shavuot. i'm toying with the idea of also making some eggplant parmesan. i would also love to make a quiche but i just don't have the crowd anymore to cook for.

i guess we're caught up now so good shabbas!