Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cleaning Up The House Part 2

it's nearly midnight in the holy city of zefat. i have been washing the floors now for the past 11 hours. i started at 1:00 p.m. before that i was lying in bed all morning. i simply, could not get out of bed.

i didn't have the baby to deal with today so i started getting the downstairs apartment ready for next week's rental. i have been painting the laundry room all week long and trying my darndest to make it look like a lounge or salon. i am expecting a family of ten for a few days and i needed an extra room.

i just found out that i have gone through my inheritance already and that i am nearly broke. boker tov! i have been spending it pretty fast. it's not like i've been going out to dinner or staying in hotels on vacation. i haven't bought any new shoes or clothes in years. i haven't even seen a dentist in years. it's pretty much been paying the utilities, taxes, house insurance and helping out the kids. food and electricity are expensive here. the cost of water has become exorbitant.

i really have nothing to show for all the money i've squandered. i didn't buy any new furniture, or antiques. i now have to get down to business and buckle the money belt and really cut corners. how will i start. i barely surived the cold of last winter. i got by on half a tank of heating fuel and i froze most of the time. i was one of the lucky ones who heated her house.

i'm going to have to stop buying diapers and baby food for the kids. they are both working now and are going to have to start pitching in. i'm babysitting for free and that leaves me unable to work outside the house; not that there are any jobs in zefat, anyway.

i threw tons of buckets of water around all day long. the floors were disgustingly dirty. with keeping the windows open during the day, the dust is unbearable. what can you do? one does needs air. i washed my enormous kitchen floor, the hallway, two bathrooms, the t.v area and the two back bedrooms. i didn't get to do the master bedroom or the living room today. there's always tomorrow.

i did do the entire downstairs guest apartment. i scrubbed all of the four bedrooms, the giant laundry room, the hallways, the bathroom, and the kitchen.this was no easy job. my toes are killing me. i stood in my bare feet for over 11 hours in sudsy water. i didn't spare the detergent, either. i can feel my toes crying out, "enough is enough".

i will make up the beds and finish the wallpapering on the plaster board wall on saturday night. my body is really hurting now. i managed to twist my back at aroebics last night. i was doing a yoga pose and i suddenly rolled over on my right side. i heard a click. i didn't even try to get to yoga this morning. i was beat. i guess shlepping the baby around in the heat yesterday wasn't all that smart.

i walked to and from the supermarket because i didn't know how to fold the stroller. i did a quick shopping while the baby slept and i got a free cab ride home. i had the cabbie deliver the groceries to the house while i walked home. i gave the driver a little something to put the groceries in my front yard. i bought tons of bottled water and a little food to make for shabbat. i then walked another half hour to exercize and walked home afterwards. i didn't fall asleep before 4:00 a.m.

i am definately starting to budget. we are going to have spicy deviled chicken wings for shabbat dinner. i also bought a small peice of niles perch to stew with tomatoes. i am going to oven fry some potatoes and sweet potatoes. maybe i'll make a potato kugel too. i have some melon for dessert and i am planning on baking a banana cake. i will make a beet salad, carrot salad, tahina, an israeli salad with cucumbers and tomatoes, egg salad, a morracan cooked tomato relish, and i'll serve the humus that i bought this week.

we can have some smoked turkey meat for lunch with the left over salads. i don't want to leave the electric hot plate on all shabbat long. it's simply too hot for that. i can live without hot food on shabbat day. as long as i have the electric water thermos going, i'm a happy camper.

i don't have to watch the baby tomorrow so i'll be able to make the shabbat meal without any pressure. the floors are all clean so i won't have any last minute sponger to do.

wishing you all a great shabbat!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cleaning Up The House

it's almost 5:00 p.m. erev shabbat and i haven't done any cooking. i think i will make my way to my sister's for dinner. i've had the baby all day with me and only accomplished washing the floors. i tried a new detergent that supposedly, was kiwi scented. it had a nice fresh smell.

i've beem trying to get the downstairs ready for summer rentals. i hung up curtains everywhere, and started wallpering the laundry room with some material i found in the closet. i thumbtacked my way through 3 plaster board walls. i'm trying to make the laundry room into a lounge area. i still need to paint the walls white and rearrange the beds and couches. i also spent a bunch of money that i really shouldn't have at this point in time. it will be good, right?

i was supposed to have a small group of 13 teenage haredi girls for shabbat but they cancelled at the last minute. i hadn't really cleaned the place yet so it was really not such of an ordeal. i don't know why i am having such a hard time with the holiday renting. someone was giving away some bedframes and furniture and i tried to arrange a pickup. after a very frustrating day, it was a no go. chalk it up to bad energy.

i wanted to do some baking but sahar needed my attention more. he was very good but he was not tired today, so i had him all morning without his taking a nap. he passed out on the couch at 2:00 p.m. but cloey the pincher dog woke him up. she actually, pulled off his blanket and scratched on his arms to get him up. i was just finishing up my sponger when i saw him sitting up on the couch.

he stood up on the couch today without using hands. he seems like he's getting ready to walk. he wanted to nurse so he simply, yanked up my shirt and tried to grab me. boy was he ever, barking up the wrong tree! i really have to get going here so i'll sign off and wish all my jewish readers, a good shabbat. to be continued..........

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Fast Is Over

it's 10:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat and we just finished eating after fasting for 24 hours. you have to be very careful not to eat too much. it's best to have cake and coffee to start.

i had a whole wheat bagel roll with two slices of cheese, several slices of cantolope, a sliver of rye flour pound cake, a cup of coffee and a bowl of minestone soup. i feel very heady but my stomach is fine.

yesterday, sahar was with the clan so i got to wash the floors, bake a pound cake, and cook the pre fast meal. i made a minestrone soup with the remaining cans of chick peas and string beans from shabbat, some cherry tomatoes, a few stalks of celery, a small section of a white cabbage, a can of tomato paste, and some frozen navy beans. i think i threw in an onion.

i also made some st. peter fish fillets with fresh lemons and a spot of teriyaki sauce and threw in the remaining white rice from shabbat. i made a small pot of red lentils for me and a vat of elbow macaroni for the kids. i knew we needed a bit of protein and a lot of complex carbs. i bought a lovely dark wole grain rye bread made without sugar. my son, surprisingly, wolfed it down. he even had a slice of the rye flour pound cake before the fast.

i went alone to hear the recitation of "lamentations" at the local bomb shelter/ chabad synagogue. i sat on the floor on a pillow. my son went off with his brother in law to a breslov sephardi rabbi who really puts on a show.

gal had to go to work this morning so i got sahar at 7:30 a.m. and boy, did i ever need a cup of coffee! i resorted to putting on the television and we both went back to sleep for a couple of hours. i kept him well stuffed with bambas and baby cereal and lots of gerber fruit sauce. he was fine. gal came home at 3:00 p.m. and took him upstairs.

i got up and got dressed and took the local bus to the supermarket and bought a bunch of pastries, berakas and rolls, to break the fast. i was lucky and caught a ride home. zvi brought sahar back down at 4:00 p.m. so i gave him yogurt and gerber and tahina and gerber and more bambas. he played nicely in the playpen while i got the meal in order.

zvi came back from shul and we ate. i'm exhausted! in a moment, i will have another coffee. i know i should drink some water but i don't have the will to do so. i put on about ten pounds and am really looking full figured again. i will start my diet regimen tomorrow. in the meantime, i continue going to aroebics and yoga. i think i'll nix the paletes right now. so that's two yoga classes and two aroebics a week. and if it ever cools down, i'll start walking again.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

All Cooked Out

i never made it out on friday to visit the ancient graveside. it took me the entire day to complete the cooking for the shabbaton. i don't know why it took me so long. i think that i was, simply, emotionally worn out from the family reunion.

i didn't make as many salads as i usually do and i kept the amounts to the minimum. i served egg salad, tuna salad, morracan turkish salad, cole slaw, humus, carrot salad, israeli cucumber and tomato salad, stewed st. peter fish fillets and potatoes, white rice, stewed chicken in tomato sauce, olives, mexican corn salad, canned palm hearts, banana cake with rye flour, and pineapple jello with non dairy whip cream. gal's sister brought over a pareve cholent so we had cheesecake and ice ceam on saturday morning for dessert with sliced cantalope.

the entire sephardi clan came over to visit and after a couple of hours took the baby with them back to their home. we all went down for naps but waking up to an empty house sans baby sahar was really too weird and very unnerving.

we had a third meal together at 7:00 p.m. and gal did the dishes. later on that night they picked up sahar. today he spent the day with his other grandmother. i went to my 9:00 a.m. yoga class and came back and hit the t.v. couch. sahar came back a little while ago and gal took him to town. he waved goodbye to his american grandmother and gave me a lovely smile. i will have the pleasure of his company tomorrow. i might even have him on tuesday, which is a fast day. now i'm on my way to my aroebics class.

the fast begins tomorrow night at sundown and ends after sundown the following night. it is not an easy fast. we are mourning the destruction of the first and second temples. it is not easy reading. i rarely leave my bed. it is not like fasting on yom kippur while i spend the entire day in synagogue. i usually do not watch television either on this sad day. if i do have the baby, i will put on the baby channel for him. i do not see myself chasing after him in this heat while i fast.

i will have to prepare some type of meal before the fast. carbs and watermelon are your best bet. i'm thinking about lentils and rice and maybe soup. you don't want anything too heavy or salty. we aren't allowed meat or fowl during the nine days. fish is too heavy on the system. i think i'll make a light veggie soup.

have an easy fast!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Family Dinners

it's nearly noon in the holy city of zefat. i was planning on going to my sister's for shabbat dinner but the kids decided to stay in and have a shabbaton with the in laws here. it's not so bad really. i am not going to prepare tons of salads this week.

i've already put in a cheesecake to bake and i'm going to broil some chicken. last night i had my whole family over for a family dinner. i hadn't seen my niece and nephew for nearly two years. my niece came to visit right before my mother passed away. she was present at my son's wedding and was with my mother during chanukah. she went back to the states to visit her other grandparents and lost her remaining grandfather, shortly afterwards.

i joke about her being the visitor from death. i know it's a bit macabre. my niece mentioned that she really liked the fish that i had made for the shabbat chatan so i made a huge effort to make a similar dish. i never make anything exactly the same twice. i improvise a lot. i went to the store to buy more fish but there was slim pickings. i bought a tuna fillet and sliced it up after it was semi defrosted. i only had two niles perch steaks left in the package so i mixed them together. i think the secret ingredient here was either soy sauce or teriyaki.

i made up a stir fry teriyaki whole wheat spaghetti for those who didn't like fish and i made up a batch of buckwheat- brown rice- barley mix for those who didn't want to eat spaghetti. i also made a huge mixed green salad with vinagrette for everyone. i made up a batch of garlic butter for my niece's husband but he couldn't make it over. i sent it home with her with the rest of the leftovers. i made a dairy marble cake with rye flour and brown sugar for those who don't eat white flour. i bought a container of dairy sherbert to boot and cut up a melon.

i stopped off at my sister's on wednesday night after my aroebics work out, to see if anyone had arrived from the states. everyone was in the living room except for one niece and their parents. i caught up with my niece and nephew and played with little mendush. he was very excited to see me. we hadn't had a play date in a week.

my sister was at her life coaching course and everyone was getting hungry. my married niece was too exhausted after chasing after little mendush all day to cook. she also confided in me that she was already in her fifth month of pregnancy. i kind of guessed it by myself, but it was nice to be included in the good news. it's customery not to disclose this until the fifth month according to jewish tradition.

at around 10:30 p.m. someone went downstairs and bought a couple of pizzas. my sister finally came home and heated up some left over lasagna and afterwards, my neice's husband drove me home. he is such a mentch! they are planning on returning to new dehli in a couple of weeks and may have the baby there. there is an american midwife there, who once had come to zefat, around 23 years ago. while i was pregnant, i used to take care of her children while she delivered everyone's babies. she wanted me to travel with her to europe and india at the time. i was way too scared and unadventurous to leave israel. how amazing is it that she may be delivering my niece's baby now!

somehow on wednesday night, it seemed like a good idea to invite everyone over for a meal. my niece and nephew had never seen my grandson and mendush and sahar hadn't played together in a week. i thought that their grandmother might enjoy a night out too. it didn't 'throw' me that we might be 12 at the table. i was looking forward to a family meal. i opened the table and set it for 10. i wasn't sure if my other niece was back from jerusalem and i didn't expect my brother in law to join us. i think that it was just too hard for everyone to come. it just put a lot of pressure on everyone.

as usual, i had everything prepared and on the electric hot plate by 7:00 p.m. and as usual, everyone arrived at about 9:00 p.m. i think that the heat and the jet lag didn't help. the food was placed on the table and zvi and benny were rebonding over a soccer game in the t.v. nook; my brother in law was showering in one of the bathrooms; the grandmother was somewhere reading a newspaper; and the girls were at the table catching up. this crowd just isn't used to eating before 10:00 p.m.

at one pont, the two boy babies were sitting in the playpen together playing with match cars. it was a bit difficult to organize everyone's departure but eventually, everyone left by midnight. zvi was very tired, and grouchy and he finally went upstairs to sleep. i washed the dishes and watched a bit of t.v. and then konked out. i am really tired now.

there is a graveside of an ancient mystic that everyone visits today. it is a chance to pray for whatever someone needs. i want to get over there sometome today after i finish my shabbat cooking. wish me luck! shabbat shalom!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

All Alone

it's been really quiet here this week. the baby's been at the other grandparents all week and i've been here all alone with my cartons of ice cream. i guess i've been drowning my sorrow, so to speak, in stuffing my face. i haven't heard from any friends or family lately.

i wonder if it had anything to do with refusing to take in my sister's mother in law for about three months. or maybe it had to do with telling off a friend after she corrected my grammar for the 100th time. perhaps it had to do with the fact that i also blew off a request from my son to use my credit card. come to think of it, the baby wasn't all that thrilled to see me a little while ago, either.

perhaps, everyone is just too darn hot. we have been going through a very hot and humid period. i've blown off all exercize this week and just stuck to a regimen of bed and icecream. i did make it to the senior citizens' center on tuesday, much to my discomfort. i started trying to spruce up the downstairs a bit but never got really far with it.

it's like i don't really want any company but at the same time i don't want to be alone. i am an habitual people pleaser and go out of my way to help others. when i occassionally say no to someone, it's agonizing for me. i punish myself like staying in and stuffing cartons of ice cream down my throat for days at a time. when i rarely ask a favor of someone and they don't comply, i get passively aggressive. i am so used to hosting everyone that i sometimes crave being alone or being served.

i know that we are all getting a bit fussy in our middle years, but it is sometimes hard to take. i don't enjoy socializing that much because i simply can't stand to be around a bunch of old fogies. women my age tend to be argumentative. i have a couple of aquaintances that go into rage mold. how fun is that! i tend to stay home and be by myself alot. how much fun is that?

i am going to get up now and get myself over to the aroebics class, somehow. that is no easy feat. i am sugared out to the max. i am just having my first coffee of the day. it's nearly 7:0 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.

it's been 4 years this week, since the second lebanon war. it's hard to believe that we had thousands of ketushas headed towards us in such a short span of time. we had hundreds fall in zefat. we had a few people die here. i heard a noise today and wondered if it was a bomb.

my head is not in a good place at all. i got to get off of the sugar once and for all. i have to learn how to say no without the guilt and anger. i have to learn to love myself more. i have to not let peoples' shortcomings and quirks get to me. i have to learn how to be a better person and have more compassion. i have to learn to ignore the stupid comments and not to internalize any of it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Much To Do About Nothing

it's 10:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat. i should be cooking and doing laundry because it's erev shabbat but i decided to hang out a little and blog. i've been busy all week with the baby. i got sick this week and it felt like the flu. i took an over the counter homeopathic flu remedy and got back on my feet. i felt a bit of a relapse coming on last night.

i think baby sahar and i are trading germs every day. we hang out all morning long on the t.v. couch snuggling and kissing. he's teething and i'm losing all my teeth. what irony! i jumped up at 8:30 a.m. this morning in a small panic because i thought that i had overslept. i went upstairs to see what was going on. gal usually leaves the house by 7:30 a.m.

everything was cool. gal took the morning off and sahar had slept soundly through the night. what fun! i am officially 'off' this morning from babysitting detail. all i have to do is cook a shabbat meal for the family and bake a cake. oh yes, i still have to go downstairs to the makolet and buy challahs and dog food and sodas and i still have laundry to do. i just might blow off the laundry until sunday.

my throat is scratchy and hoarse. i feel like going back to bed. however, i have to get moving and start the food preparation. gal's married sister and husband moved into the neighborhood last week. zvi and shachar are great buddies and gal and orital are really good friends for sisters. the young couple doesn't have children of their own yet and are completely devoted to sahar's well being. sahar adores his uncle shachar.

this new arrangement definately works for me. i can now drop off sahar before i go to yoga. it gives me a back up system. we are all having shabbat together. orital is bringing cholent for lunch so i just need to make some salads for the day meal. i was thinking about making kugels and a cheesecake but i think i'll just pass. i can make rice and greasy roasted potatoes, instead. i will make the cheesecake next week for a family reunion meal. my nephew and niece are both visiting from new york with their sole surviving grandparent. i offered to make a family dinner and my sister offered me to take care of her mother in law for a month. sounds like a plan?

i found an interesting recipe for a marble cake on the net. i will 'improvise' and make it non dairy. my friend, michal, would not approve. she believes that this is sacreligious like breaking a commandment. i do a lot of substituting when i bake and it usually pans out. sometimes it doesn't. i'm of the julia child's school of cooking philosophy. if something doesn't exactly turn out, you can always call it something else. i will not be a slave to a recipe.

i made a cheesecake recently, and the whites didn't fluff up. i folded them in anyway and i received a lot of compliments. in fact, michal said that it was the best cake that i've made to date. go know!

i bought tons of veggies to make salads for shabbat. i have two kinds of cabbage, fresh carrots and beets and a huge bag of mixed salad greens. i want to make a tabouli salad because i have some fresh mint. i plan on using quinoa instead of bulgar. sue me!

i hope that you are all enjoying the comments from our chinese friends as much as i am. shabbat shalom!