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!