Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Birthday Party

i just got sahar off to sleep a little while ago. it's after 10:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. his aunt moran took care of him all day long. i went down to do the laundry at 12:00 p.m. it was rather cold this morning so i put it off.

i think i did about 6 huge loads. i didn't see any major improvement after investing 1100 shekels last week in maintanance. i think the machine was actually, noisier. go know!

last night we had a 'mock' surprise party for gal's mom. she turned the big '50'. next week i turn the large '60'. i was hoping to come in svelte to my party but it ain't happening. my stomach is the size of a basketball. i just have to grin and bear it.

anyway, gal asked me to make a lasagna for the party. i bought all of the ingredients last thursday. i was hoping that she would change her mind because i wasn't in the mood to potchka. later that day, at around 3:00 p.m. she asked if i could also bake a chocolate cake. she told me that she would pick it up and decorate it, herself. i was feeling rather sluggish yesterday morning and stayed in bed for most of the day. at 3:30 p.m. i jumped out of bed and got dressed and ran down to the supermarket to buy white flour. her family and especially her mom, doesn't like whole wheat flour. her dad, surprisingly enough, prefers it. next month, i'll make him another honey cake for his birthday.

at around 4:00 p.m. i forced myself to go into the kitchen to start the cake. a friend called to say that she was coming over for a visit. i was just whipping up the cake when she arrived. it took about 40 minutes and i had 2 lovely and moiste round layer cakes for gal to pick up. i couldn't start the lasagna while i was hosting my friend. the discussion was rather on the heavy side. i waited for her to leave. she left at around 6:30 p.m. i was already spent.

at 7:00 p.m. i started the tomato sauce. i ended up using the cardboard like lasagna noodles that you don't precook. i did manage to go back to the store where i had seen the real squiggly lasagna noodles, but i didn't find any. gal said that she would pick me up at 8:30 p.m. so i wasn't feeling too pressured. you might say, that i was lacking inspiration. i didn't even use fresh garlic in my sauce. i was hot and tired.

while the lasagna was baking, i melted the left over white chocolates that i had bought for gal's sister's bris. i did buy good 60% dark chocolate bars but i decided not to use them. i opted for the precut white plastic chocolates, instead. remember, i told you that i wasn't feeling very inspired. i made 10 large 'yom huledet sameach' lollypops and about 20 small 'mazel tovs'. i found my gold 'mazel tov' stickers and 2 plastic wine glasses to showcase the chocolates.

at 8:20 p.m. i took the lasagna out of the oven and covered it with foil and a couple of towels to keep it warm. gal called to ask me to bring up a couple of bottles of coke from the fridge. she said that her brother-in-law would pick me up in 20 minutes. i opted for not showering. i had showered earlier in the day but i certainly could have used another one. i threw on a fresh top and a vest to try and cover up my huge stomach. it didn't help one bit.

i went to carry out the lasagna, 2 bottles of coke, and the bag with the gift and the chocolates before shachar came to pick me up. just as he arrived, the little dog paco, got out of the house. i had to round him up and get him back in and lock the door. i almost forgot the lasagna, which i had placed on the stoop. we drove over to gal's sister on the next block and i was handed the birthday cake to hold. it wasn't wrapped up or in a box. it was resting on an inverted layer cake pan. i had to hold it in my hands and make sure it didn't fall or get squished while we were driving. i was a nervous wreck. the hot lasagna was to my right on the seat next to gal's sister and baby.

we got to gal's family at 9:00 p.m. and all the girls scrambled to make a party. they frantically blew up balloons, set the table, put out salads and crackers, and put barekas in the oven. they served potato barekas, french fries, sweet potato ravioli in mushroom sauce, spaghetti in cream sauce, mock greek salad with bulgarian cheese, and of course, the dreaded lasagna. they never cut the cake because everyone was stuffed. blame it on the lasagna. they did serve 4 different flavors of ice cream. everyone was overtired. sahar was in his element watching his favorite nursery songs on his aunt's cell phone. we left well after midnite.

i am planning a sit down dinner for my birthday on sunday. i do not want a 'mock' surprise party. i want to share the big day with a few friends. i am planning on serving chili con carne, corn bread, corn, white rice, curried brown rice, lentils, tossed green salad, apple pie ice cream and some type of cake. i am leaning towards a banana cake with chocolate cream frosting. i was planning on making a chocolate layer cake but i don't know if i'll be able to retrieve my layers cake pans on time. i'm kind of fantasizing about making ginger bread but molasses is very costly. i'll decide this week. i'd like to do it ahead of time and freeze it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Fun In The Sun

it's almost 11:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat. my most favorite t.v. show, 'medium' is almost on. i have a huge day ahead of me. after 'medium' i will start to move.

i spent the day in the pool with sahar yesterday. he came up to seek out 'tata' bright and early, around 8:00 a.m. i changed his diaper and gave him a bottle of juice because i was out of milk. i got him ready to go and took him for a walk to the local pharmacy.

it was already way too hot to walk but i didn't have the patience to wait for the bus. i didn't have the stamina, either, to push the stroller onto the bus and take him out of it. i've done that lately, and it is quite the chore. i needed to buy 3 birthday gifts so i headed to the 'new pharm'.

i bought a pretty package of bath soaps amd gels for gal's sister who had a birthday last week. it came with a scrubbie and a little purple shelf. i bought a package of bath gels for gal's mom who turns 50 this week. it came with a little wooden scrub brush and two scents. i also bought a package of lavender bath gels and bath salts for my gal pal who turns 61 today.

she's meeting in town with a couple of friends for 'coffee and'. i really should make an effort to join them. i don't have sahar today. his grandma miriam is going to shlepp him around the outdoor market. it is way too hot for me to shlepp around, myself. i'm even too tired to take the cover off the pool and jump in. i got a pretty good burn yesterday. i don't want to chance another one today.

later on today, there is a dedication of a new sefer torah at the boy's school for the rav who died last year. he was an incredible man and school manager, who really died too young. gal's mom asked me to join them there. the boys are in the choir and are carrying torches for the long march. i am sort of obligated to go. what a long day i have. i never go to town on wednesdays, shuk day in zefat.

i was sort of planning to catch up on my laundry. the repairman was here yesterday, replacing a part for the maytag. it cost me over 1100 shekels. he did give the maytag a good bill of health. he maintains that it can last a life time if i have it serviced every few years. there is no way, for sure, that i could ever afford another maytag in my lifetime. if this ones dies i will have to use my daughter-in-law's israeli model. i bought it second hand before their wedding. a lovely chabad couple were returning to the states so i bought their washer and dryer and fridge, which were only a few months old at the time.

i also, want to check out one of the supers downtown. i once saw 4th of july napkins there. i doubt that they still have them but you never know. i have found new year's plates, and easter napkins and even christmas napkins there. maybe they will have something with the american flag. i haven't been able to find red, blue and white sprinkles. there aren't any blueberries or strawberries either, to make a flag waving cake. i, actually, checked these things out on the internet.

gal wants me to make a lasagna for saturday night. they originally, were planning a cook out for gal's mom's birthday. shabbat ends pretty late these days. the last thing that i want to do is make another lasagna. i usually do this once a year. i did see real lasagna noodles in the same super that has the funky napkins. you know, the long ones that are curly on the edges, that you actually cook. i've been using the huge, oblong cardboard like noodles, that don't need precooking, for years. they fit 3 to a layer. now, do i spring for the real noodles and work harder than usual? i don't even know why i'm bothering. gal's mom won't eat lasagna. she's morraccan. she does have the occassional slice of pizza at a party but she would never taste my lasagna.

since, i'm not so certain about this lasgana idea, i will wait to buy all the cheeses. we are talking about a lot of expenses, here, too. i could start to make the chocolate molds today. i still have some really awful white chocolate left over from gal's sister's bris. it's not so easy to potchker when it's so hot. i really just want to go back to bed and forget about the coffee klotch at 2:00 p.m. and the sefer torah thing at 5.00 p.m. today. i also, want to stop staring at all of the laundry lying on the master bedroom floor.

i think the honeymoon with paco, our new dog, is over. he stinks and has been peeing on the rug downstairs. gal is not a dog lover and zvi, the collector, is never home. he recently joined a local soccer team. between work and learning and sports, paco never sees zvi anymore. this morning, i searched all over the house for paco. he was nowhere to be found. i was convinced he ran away. i finally found him in the third floor apartment. he was lying on the rug. i sure hope that he didn't pee on the rug. he is having a rather hard time with cloey dog. she tortures him. cookie dog is much easier to get along with. i need this third dog like i need a hole in the head. i am doing sponger, like, every day, now. are we having fun yet?

i was invited to a wedding in bnei brak tonight. guess who isn't going???

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Roll Out Those Lazy Hazy Days Of Summer

it's 8:00 a.m. friday morning in the holy city of zefat. i woke up at 7:00 a.m. and got up to have breakfast. i've been on a quasi vegan/raw food diet for a couple of days. i finally made myself sick from all the binging. besides, gaining an all time record of poundage, i really got sick.

i was nauseated for a couple of days and couldn't even drink coffee. i went through a real caffeine withdrawal. i only drank tea for a few days and was unable to function. my sinks are full of coffee mugs, dishes and pots and pans. i have little stamina to deal with anything.

i've had sahar with me practically, all week long. his other grandmother was out of town visiting her mother. i had him for over 12 hours on sunday and wednesday. i had him for almost 24 hours on monday when his parents went off to tel aviv.

i took sahar with me to the grocery to buy a sweet challah. i spent the morning in the pool while sahar played in the garden. he didn't like being in the pool today. i think it was too cold for his taste. it was just right for me. the sun was really brutal. i wore a leotard and shift as my bathing costume.

gal made the shabbat meals downstairs and i am their guest this week. she actually bought fish and chicken this week. it was the first shabbat meal that she made. she was on the phone with her mom on thursday night. her mom talked her through the chicken and fish dishes. gal made two types of eggplant salad, a potato salad, and a mixed green salad. she also made an icebox cheesecake.

i made an eggless chocolate fudge cake because i gave gal all of my eggs. i made some beets, and the usual cooked tomato relish. i also made an israeli salad and tahina. i made some white rice and the weekly potatoes and eggs. i took care of sahar until nearly candlelighting time and then made a mad dash to wash the floors.

gal came upstairs a dozen times to ask for things. she needed eggs, various spices, a hand mixer, fresh garlic, and then the use of my fleishig oven. i have to admit that it was a huge relief not to have to make meals this week.

last night i finished putting sahar to sleep at 10:00 p.m. my niece had called around 8:30 p.m. from town to let me know that a friend's wedding was in progress. i never received the invitation. i had gone to the senior's center that morning and had stayed an extra hour to see that they all made in onto their tenders home. i then went to visit a friend and stayed for a few hours. it was a really hot day and i didn't budge until around 5:00 p.m. when it seemed to be cooling down.

i then went to the bank and then to the supermarket to get supplies for shabbat. i didn't get home until after 6:00 p.m. i was quite tired. i settled down onto the t.v. couch for a little while until sahaar came home and wanted me to watch his 'row row row the boat' videos with him. when my niece called to tell me about the wedding, i was too tired to consider getting dressed up and going back out.

an old friend from the states was at the wedding and looking forward to reconnecting. the thought of having to wear my wig and pantyhose was anathama to me. i wish that i could have been more flexible. i simply, could not. i need to know the night before what i am planning to wear, and have it all laid out in front of me. i need to select which pieces of jewelry i want to wear and which pair of shoes. i also need to have my wig combed out and sprayed. i don't do well with last minute preparations anymore. especially, carrying around this extra weight, makes it much harder to find an outfit that still fits.

i felt really let down that night. it brought up memories of all the other simchas that i missed throughout the years. i felt totally out of the loop, again.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fun In The Sun

it's nearly 7:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. i've had my grandson, sahar, with me since 6:30 a.m. his parents went off to tel aviv this morning to buy more shoes for their their store in town.

i guess that's a sign that the store is being successful. one can only pray. we've had very hot weather lately and the kids went out last week and bought a pool. zvi came home from work early yesterday, and with the help of his brother -in -law, he managed to assemble the pool. it took a couple of hours to fill it. oh vey, the water bill!!!

i had every intention of going early to the pharmacy today to buy a swim suit for sahar. i also had the cash to finally pay the electric bill. i figured we'd spend the hot morning in the pool together. instead, we had a rain storm this morning and the weather suddenly got cold again. go know! it's a good thing that we covered the pool last night.

we are getting another dog today. that's right, we will have 3 dogs. a friend saw an ad for a 5 year old tea cup chiwawa who needed a home. his family is headed back to the states and was afraid to travel with him. the ad read "mitzvah" so how could i possibly say no. this has been a dream of ours for years. we had a chiwawa a few years ago but he died after only a year. it was a traumatic time for me.

there's a chiwawa at the zefat pet shop in town. they want about $800 for him. i pine for him but it's way out of my price range. i also, on principle, am against the selling of pet animals. we are paying a token $100 finder's fee. he comes with clothes, a bed and a carrier. i can't wait to see him. zvi is meeting the owner in tel aviv in a little while. i am already fantasizing about dressing in a blonde wig this year as legally blonde for purim.

the kids are already on the bus on the way home to zefat. i'll just have to wait a few hours to greet our new pet. when i read the ad, it said to come and see 'hime'. for some reason, i thought that the dog's name was hyme. i told my son that the dog had a really strange mexican name. our dog was named 'paco'. i felt bad about changing this dog's name since he had it for 5 years. well, it turns out that his name is actually, paco. this was surely meant to be!

in another 3 weeks i will be turning 60. my birthday, which is on rosh chodesh tamuz, falls out on the fourth of july weekend. i want to throw a fourth of july bash. i want to make chili and serve hot dogs, hamburgers and corn on the cob. i invited a girl pal to enjoin her birthday with mine this year. her's is a week later.

too bad we can't do a pool party. i don't do mixed swimming. anyway, who wants to see middle aged men without shirts?

Sunday, June 5, 2011


it's 9.00 a.m.. in the holy city of zefat. i jumped out of bed a little while ago and saw that it was nearly 9:00 a.m. i must have been dreaming this morning. i quickly brushed my teethe, got dressed, and ran downstairs to get sahar. it was very quiet downstairs.

at first, i thought that the kids had already left. i found sahar alone, in his t.v. room, playing with his toys. he immediately came running over to me and i took him to change his very, dirty, diaper. gal informed me that he was going over to safta miriam's. i felt a bit slighted at first, but then i realized that i had the entire day to create my dairy extravaganza for shavuot. i was a free bird. why fight it?

everyone knows that lasagna and cheese cake always taste better the next day. in this case, after 2 days. i am really tired this morning. i didn't fall asleep until after 3:30 a.m. i have to, seriously, stop drinking coffee after 10 p.m. there wasn't a decent thing on the tellie last night, either. i have become accustomed to falling asleep watching t.v. mom used to wake up as soon as i turned the t.v off.

it feels like a heat wave. the house is even warm for a change. i am feeling a bit feverish. the kids were having some kind of spat before they left. i put sahar into his car seat while they worked it out. i was determined not to interfere. i did tell zvi that he was acting like a 2 year old. one of the 'perks' of living with your married kids.

sahar wasn't all that eager to go off with them, either. he was planning on having another quiet day alone with me, the dogs and the sprinklers. a little quite time never hurt anyone. i don't make him perform all day long. i sing and dance with him all the time and review things. at the other house. he is asked to repeat a trick about 10 or 12 times until he becomes unglued. he does love that bunch a lot. they all adore him, too.

on shabbat day, he ordered them all to remove the new baby from its baby carrier, so that he could sit in it. he even put the infant's pacifier in his mouth. everyone laughed and played along. even his aunt, the new mother, showed no signs of indignation. this wouldn't have played out that way in my family. i think that we, ashkanazim, are more uptight, in general.

i definately, need to rest a bit more before i start to cook. i'll do laundry, instead. i did do the bulk of the laundry last week but i have some sheets and covers that smell very 'doggie'. one of the 'perks' of being a dog owner. ha ha!

last night, i applied a little too much orange oil to the dogs necks and they both had real hissie fits. i thought that i had, inadvertently, poisoned them. i had read a long time ago, that orange oil repels fleas and ticks. i hate using the flea collars because of their toxicity. i don't want them around sahar. i hope this works. i try to check them every day. lately, i've had a few ticks crawling about on me. what a thrill! i don't believe that these are the kind of ticks that you can get lyme disease from. they seem to be pretty benign.

how charming of me to be talking about ticks and cheesecake in the same conversation! isn't life so precious!

i got to speak with my niece in india for a moment yesterday. i had been thinking about her all day. it's too hard to make a phone call when sahar is with me. he grabs the markers from the drawers and starts to scribble on the floors and on his socks. anyway, after sahar went with his mom to town, i saw that my niece had tried to chat with me on the computer at the same time that i was thinking about her. ooh, scarey!

the house is in pretty decent shape so i won't have to do a major clean up job. i love to arrange lots of greenery around the house for shavuot. the only problem is that it will all dry out rather quickly in this heat. one year i, actually, strung up plastic flowers. how tacky was that! there is an abundance of beautiful roses all over the neighborhood, all mine for the picking. i love to add the fresh rosemary, lavender and mrytle from the garden. it looks and smells great too.

i think i'll throw the roast in the pan. it can simmer while i hang laundry. life is sweet!

It's Almost Shavuot

it's almost midnite in the holy city of zefat. i've been on the computer for hours searching for new dairy recipes. i invited a few guests for wednesday afternoon to dine on lasagna and cheesecake. i splurged and bought cherries and grapes. i'm planning on making melon balls out of the honeydo melon.

i was supposed to go out on tuesday nite to the in-laws. i've decided to stay home, instead. a few friends called to ask if they could come over, so i am now, officially, cooking a fleishig meal.

i have a few small tuna steaks in the freezer so i'll be making them for my friend who is a vegetarian. i bought a really small pot roast to make for my other friend, who is, most definately, not a veggie, and very much, a meat lover. i hope that i will be able to cook some things tomorrow. i have sahar with me for the morning, but i will try to get things going when he naps.

i took sahar out for a morning stroll to the large supermarket around 11:00 a.m. he fell asleep in the stroller and i hoped that he would sleep for a while. he woke up as soon as we hit the super, a mere 20 minutes later. i left the stroller in the first aisle and put him in the shopping cart. he was pointing and asking for everything. first, i bought a package of sliced cheese for him to munch on. then, i bought him a sugary pita. after that, it was a small chocolate bar.

finally, i put sahar back into his stroller and managed to pack up all the groceries and get them into the shopping cart. sahar sat in his stroller, singing, quite gleefully. someone helped me fold up the stroller and we took a cab home. the driver helped me with the packages as i got sahar back into the courtyard. sahar, happily played outside, while i put away the groceries.

a little while later, i put on the sprinklers for the first time this season. the grass was already brownish. the gardner checked out the system today and it was really, time to water the poor grass. sahar ran around the wet grass and played in the water. he was having a ball! his mom came home and took him to town. i went to the little super to buy more cheese.

i was really psyched to start the lasagna when i got back. when i reached for the box of lasagna noodles on the top shelf of the pantry, i discovered that, what i had thought was a box of lasagna noodles, was really a box of canneloni. i should just change the menu, right? i don't think so. everyone is really expecting lasagna.

there was no way that i was going to shlepp back to the large supermarket to buy lasagna noodles tonite. earlier on, i bought a box of prepared sweet potato ravioli. i'm planning on making a creamy sauce. i think that will have to be done on wednesday, just before i serve it. i can't imagine putting it on the hotplate for a while. it would probably become rubbery.

i also, have my heart set on making a mushroom and swiss chard pie. i know it is probably, way too much food, but it can all be frozen, afterwards. i was toying with the idea of making the canneloni too, but that would really be over kill. if i had a larger group, maybe. but i think it's just 7 of us.

gal is planning on making an icebox cheesecake. i am planning on making an individual, teeny tiny, yogurt pie, for the friend who is sugar and gluten free. i'm planning on using crushed pecans for the crust and a custard made with goat yogurt and a splash of honey. she doesn't really do dairy, either. the recipe calls for berries but i couldn't find any. besides, i don't know if she even eats fresh fruit.

it's always a challenge to cook for her. i like to set the bar high. i'm thinking about making a sticky coconut brown rice for dinner. i might make a small, sweet noodle kugel for my other friend. i don't think she likes coconut so much. i also want to bake some banana cake muffins to have on hand. the carrot muffins were a big hit the last holday, but i didn't buy any carrots today.

i haven't been feeling that well, lately. i really am way too heavy. i tried to go back on a diet but i just didn't have the strength to endure one. i ate a bit of everything today ; bananas, yogurt, whole wheat bread, sardines, pecans, tuna and cheese. i couldn't commit to either, the south beach or the fruit fast. i figured, that as long as i didn't binge, i was okay. oh no, the new really tastey icecreams that i bought for shavuos, are beckoning me to taste them. give me the strength to not indulge myself!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Peace In The Middle East

it's nearly 9:00 p.m. on a thursday night in the holy city of zefat. i am exhausted. i spent the entire afternoon cleaning the house. i just did 3 batches of laundry to boot.

the house was really smelly and dirty. the weather has been really strange. it's been hot and dry during the day and quite chilly at night. the house is very cold. the entire house was covered in grey dust.

i'd love to do the windows again, but i just don't have the energy. besides, it might just rain again. we never have rain at this time of year. everything is, pretty much, out of the ordinary, weather wise.

i could fall asleep this instant. i don't remember how late i stayed up. i must have gone to sleep after 3:00 a.m. i've been in a funk since the blow out with baby sister last week. i think it's my niece's birthday tonight, but i don't have the energy to call her and talk.

the kids are going to the in law's for shabbat. i'll probably tag along, too. i don't have the energy to prepare anything for myself. i spent the week, stuffing face, again. you would not believe the amount of junk i consumed, this week. shavuot is on tuesday night and i would have liked to lose a bit of weight before the holiday.

the kids are going to the gal's family for shavuot night. i'm seriously thinking of joining them. they might just walk home afterwards. zvi wants to be home for a morning dairy meal. once upon a time, i would have prepared two or three types of kugels, a quiche, three types of meat and various salads. that seems like so long ago.

i'm planning on making a cheese lasagna and a simple cheesecake for shavuot day. i might make a spinach pie and some baked salmon. i'll probably also serve, a simple fruit and cheese platter, too. the prices of fruit have skyrocketted, lately. i'll stick to melons and add some grapes.

i got out of babysitting sahar, today by saying that i was going to the seniors' center. i actually, ended up staying home. i wasn't feeling well but i felt an enormous pressure to clean the house. i have sahar with me tomorrow. i also, have a dog coming to stay for shabbat, of all the crazy things. that's right, i'm babysitting a dog. what we will do for a few shekels!

sahar just got home and wanted to see 'tata' zelda. he really wanted to see the 'row row row your boat' video on you tube. he's really keen on this lately. he didn't want to go downstairs because he knows that it's bedtime. i somehow, managed to get him to the downstairs computer and after quite awhile, he fell asleep in my arms. he refuses to watch lullabies now because he knows they put him to sleep.

i haven't spoken to my sister since the blow out. we've emailed a wee bit but that's all. i did speak to my brother, the shrink. he kept telling me, in his best dr. phil voice, to try and see the larger picture. i cannot for the life of me, figure it out right now.

today, my sister sent me an ad for a managerial position at a seniors center. besides the fact, that i couldn't understand the hebrew, i am absolutely not qualified for such a job. after all, i've only been visiting the center for about a year. and i only go there once a week. i haven't a clue what goes on in the other sections of the center. i have been primarily, visiting the closed in dementia group. i have no experience with the social welfare network, at all.

i tried to explain to sister dearest, that no one would ever hire someone without a degree. she really didn't get it. amazingly, i started to get it, though. my sister lives in an altered reality state. once i acknowledged this to myself, i no longer felt upset with her. i understood why it was so hard to communicate with her. she simply doesn't live in the same world as me.