Friday, November 25, 2011

Day After Thanksgiving

it's 2:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. last night i got my 'second wind' and actually, got up and did most of the dishes. it would have been a disaster waking up to that humongus balagan.

i just got back from the grocery and spent 117 israeli dollars on: 5 small bananas (always thinking of potasium), 2 bags of milk (always have to have milk on hand for sahar), 4 cans of tuna ( a gal's got to have her protein), 1 non dairy whipping cream (was thinking about making banana icecream), 1 small sweet challah ( gal sure loves those expensive sweet challahs), 4 sweet challah rolls and 2 cans of sauerkraut (thinking about that huge package of weiners in the freezer).

it is about 2 hours before candlelighting. i still have to mop the floor. this morning i straightened out my matches and candles drawer. i usually do it before pesach but i got frustrated not being able to find my shabbat wicks. i've done all of my cooking. i made a chicken-beef-veggie and barley soup for one of my guests. i had 2 wings and a chicken breast left over from the whole chicken i bought last week. i didn't think it was rich enough, so i took a slab of meat from the cholent for tomorrow's lunch. i made instant couscous so i can serve a wing and the slice of beef for the main course.

i also made fresh corn on the cob as a side dish. i made a veggie-lentil soup for my vegetarian friend and some stewed fish with pumpkin for her main course. i'm thinking that i should probably, also, cook up some brown rice, but i am really all cooked out, at this point. too bad that she can't eat couscous. she has a problem with wheat and she also doesn't eat potatoes.

i made a fleishig cholent for zvi's lunch tomorrow and threw in a huge marrow bone. he's been hocking me to buy one for the longest while. they don't give them away for free here, like in the states. 4 bones cost me 25 shekels. gal doesn't like to eat meat during the day so i made a sweet potato and a couple of white potatoes to serve on couscous with corn. that's a nice lunch.

i have left over pumpkin cake and banana bread so i didn't bake anything. if they don't want any they can always eat package cookies. that's if they have any. i for sure, don't. are we having fun, yet? i'm slightly exhausted.

i had a bit of a run in with my daughter-in-law this morning over hot water, or the lack of it. she rung up here for me to turn on the water heater first thing in the morning. i obediently obliged. after a while, i did some more dishes and then turned off the heater. i then got an irate call from my son, informing me that his wife wanted to take a hot shower and there was no hot water.

i ran downstairs and informed my darling daughter-in-law that she should feel free to turn on the dude when she likes. she was outright mad at me. she had asked me to turn on the heater hours ago because she had wanted a hot shower then. she wasn't too thrilled about my suggesting that she turn on the heater by herself, either. i was also informed that both she and my son missed their showers yesterday. i didn't dare let her know that i only shower about once or twice a week these days. come on, how dirty can they be?

wishing everyone a good shabbos.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bon Voyage

it's 8:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. i haven't been blogging because it's been too cold in my computer room. after awhile, i can't feel my fingers or toes. my guests just left. i threw a thanksgiving/farewell dinner fo a couple who are moving back to the states.

we have become good acquaintances lately. i've had them over for shavuot, rosh hashana, sukkot, assorted barbecues and my 60th birthday party. sarah and i share a passion/addiction for reality t.v. she predicted the breakup of kim kadarshian before anyone else. although she isn't observant yet, we have a good time together and we always keep it real.

they are heading back to florida. the economic situation here proved too much for them. thankfully, they have children and grandchildren back home in the same town. i am truly happy for them and hopeful that their new life there will be a bit easier. who would have believed that our golden years would be so unpredictable. i for one, cannot leave the country. i am way too settled here to even think about it. of course, while the kids are here, i'm not going anywhere.

i spent most of the day yesterday cooking a thanksgiving meal. i spent the entire week on the net looking up new recipes. last year, i made an elaborate, thanksgiving fantasy. this year, i went traditional but relied more on standard, comfort foods. last year, i made individual peanut butter and mashed sweet potato cups. this year, i made mashed potatoes. i even bought, non dairy cream to add for that extra smoothness.

i made a basil flavored mushroom and barley pilaf. i scooped out the bottom of a long pumpkin squash to use as a serving vessel for the pilaf but it was too small. i ended up making a small amount of sweet potato and carrot tsimmis with raisins and dried cranberries which was the perfect fit for the squash shell. i made a corn pudding instead of corn on the cob. actually, i read on a trivia site, that they never ate corn at the original thanksgiving. i did make my famous corn bread that everyone likes. you know, the one without flour.

i made a ground turkey sage dressing with chestnuts and dried cranberries. it was nothing more than a glorified meatloaf. i do have to admit, that it was, rather tastey. i baked pumpkin squash slices with a savory spice mix and topped it off with sesame seeds. i couldn't find fresh string beans so i settled for frozen. i didn't feel like spending extra money to buy the french cut ones. the short squat ones were on sale for only 10 shekels. i added a drizzle of olive oil and a generous amount of chopped almonds.

i made a small amount of basmati white rice for a friend who is on a really strange diet. i added a bit of tumeric for color. i didn't add any oil. i made a baked pumpkin pudding. it was supposed to be like pumpkin pie without the shell. it was awful! i substituted cooking cream for whipped cream and it was borderline disgusting. i gave the rest a way to one of the guests, who was probably, the only one who actually ate it. it was a tiny bit runny and eggy. it was nothing like pumpkin pie.

i made a really good cranberry relish. it was the first time ever, that i found frozen, whole cranberries in zefat. it was a small bag of gold but i had to quarter the recipe. it called for way, too much sugar. i actually, cut it down to 2 tablespoons of date syrup and 2 tablespoons of honey. it had cinnamon and cloves in it but you could only taste the cinnamon. i will definately, save this recipe for future use. i would add more celery next time.

i had nine turkey cutlets left in the freezer. i cut them in half and lightly dipped them in corn meal and slightly fried them in very little oil. i then cooked them for about 20 minutes in cranberry nectar and threw in a half a cup of raw cranberries. i added a bit of garlic and some allspice balls. they were a big hit. i wasn't all that excited. the fresh green salad was amazingly crisp and fresh. i made a lemon and olive oil dressing and served a bottle of thousand island dressing, too. it was also on sale for 10 shekels.

we ended up having a real treat. a good friend brought a box of after dinner chocolate mints. i haven't seen them in years. i tried hiding a few for tomorrow but i gave them up in the end. i made both a pumpkin cake and a banana bread. one friend made a pecan pumpkin cake and another made chocolate chip cookies. another friend brought some very weird looking fruit. they resemble a dinasaur or something prehistoric like that. i wouldn't have the faintest idea of how to eat them.

we had no shortage of wine. i made turkish coffee with shots of rum towards the end. i was going to do the dishes a little while ago but i finally feel the rum. i invited two friends to join me for shabbat dinner tomorrow. the kids are going out for night. i can make a simpler meal for night time and make a meat cholent for lunch. i'll just run out in the morning and buy some rolls.

it was a lovely evening. but it was a bit bitter sweet. i will miss my friends but i will try to communicate by email. i don't seem to be able to keep my eyes open. what a mess is left in the kitchen. i chose not to use plastic today. i wanted an elegant dinner party. i even put on a long evening type dress that was really a glorifed housecoat.

wishing you all a happy thanksgiving and a good shabbos! love, zelda

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mortified And Humbled

it is 12:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. candlelighting is around 4:14 p.m. sahar got me up at 6:30 a.m. he needed an adult caregiver and a clean and dry diaper. he asked for choco milk. i had to run downstairs to retrieve a bottle. i put on the baby channel for him to watch. he wanted his play dough with him. he opened it on the pillow and held on to a piece. i was naturally, worried that it might get full of dog hair. something that would very much, displease his mom.

apparently, yesterday, cloey the dog rummaged through the downstairs' kitchen garbage pail and made quite a mess. i was apprised of this only this morning when cloey ran downstairs again. i don't complain about every mess their 2 year old son makes. why not afford me the same courtesy.

sahar and i went back downstairs around 8:00 a.m. his parents were just waking up. i 'apprised' his mom of the fact that he had already had a bottle, slice of bread and honey, and two boiled eggs sans the yellows. he gives them to the dogs.

i have already made a lemon cake and cooked the fish, rice, meatballs, and lentils for tonight's shabbat meal. the kids are going out for lunch. it is a relief for me. i really didn't feel like making 2 huge shabbat meals. i defrosted a few turkey cutlets that i will bread and fry up soon. i bought a can of chickpeas to make my own chumus. it really does not make a big difference in the price. i just feel like eating homemade chumus. i don't know about the kids' preference but probably, not.

i still need to cook up some hot tomato relish for tonight. i'll make a little egg salad, open a can of tuna, and cut up some tomatoes and cucumbers for an israeli salad, just in case the kids are all here for third meal. i still need to wash the floor and dust. the whole house is covered in a layer of soot. i suddenly feel really tired.

i' ve been on the 'south beach' all week long and haven't shed an ounce. what a drag! i think that i might be having an hysterical pregnancy as my stomach is actually, larger than my daughter-in-laws'. wouldn't that be something if we both gave birth at the same time! nothing short of miraculous, that is.

the kids wanted me to go with them to a family wedding on sunday. i decided that i would only go if i could get a ride home the same night. i really didn't want to leave the dogs alone overnight. as it turns out, there isn't any room for me on the return trip home, so i guess i am freed from this particular obligation. and i get to save a wad of dough, too.

i think i will try and get the heating fuel deivered on sunday. i gotta act fast as the 'allotted' amount for solar is going fast. i just had the most humiliating experience in the supermarket. i ran down to buy some challahs, even though i had a couple left over from last week, in the freezer. l know that the kids wouldn't enjoy their shabbat meal without fresh bread. i bought a dozen eggs, two bags of milk and some tomatoes. on my way to the counter i decided to buy some tuna and coffee.

i had only taken a 100 shekel note with me to buy veggies and bread. the bill was around 170 shekels. i quickly put back the coffee and was getting ready to put back the tuna when a young man paid the difference for me. it was about 25 shekels. i was mortified! i mean, i am not homeless. i simply didn't bring enough cash with me. the man told me to give the money to the shul for charity. i got outside and felt really small. i rummaged through my bag and came up with 20 shekekls in coins. i went back into the store but the man was gone already.

i give money to people all the time. it is shocking to say, but, more and more people, including young mothers and children, are panhandling in town, all the time now. there is one 'shnorer' who is situated regularly, in front of a certain supermarket. i have paid for strangers in the supermarket on more than one occassion. i was on the receiving end this time and it felt horrible. i don't know how people mooch money on a regular basis. i always try to preserve the dignity of the people who are requesting money. in my case, my pride before, was stopping me from allowing this man to do a good deed. i was preventing him from giving charity because i was embarrassed.

i think i will have a better understanding and appreciation of those less fortunate than me from now on. i will accept help from others without feeling inadequate or needy. i will allow others to also do mitzvahs. shabbat shalom! and may you be warm and comfortable.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No News Is Good News

it's 8:30 a.m. in the holy city of zefat. i got up at 7:00 a.m. and let the dogs out. i picked up my hamodia newspaper and came back into the house. it's really cold inside! it's dark and raining outside. what a shame that i never made it out for a walk yesterday.

i was planning on going over to the seniors' center this morning. i even thought about stopping at the city office first, to pay my tax bill. i really hate nasty weather. i haven't asked the kids if they are coming for shabbat. i went out last night to buy some veggies. i splurged on cottage cheese. i don't know if you have been kept abreast of the cottage cheese boycott here or not. an 8 0z. container of cottage costs about $2 here.

i also bought a few tomatoes and cucumbers, some hake fish, and a small package of fresh liver, just in case the kids do stay for shabbat. this cost me about $30. times are tough and prices are way out there. i was playing with the idea of making a thanksgiving dinner again this year but i don't think that i can afford to. last year i threw an authentic, retro dinner for about ten guests. i even had turkey napkins. this year i bought a paper turkey tablecloth.

if i do invite a few guests, the menu will be a lot simpler. i'll serve turkey cutlets instead of drumbsticks. i'll make pumpkin soup instead of pie. i'll make baked apples for dessert. i'll make a corn bread and add some cranberries. i bought some prepared chestnuts that can be made into a really delicious soup or dressing. i can always mash up a few potatoes. it can be a poor but festive thanksgiving afternoon meal.

i opened the newspaper to catch the headlines as i drank my morning java. "13 dead from snow storm in monsey" and "1 dead from terrorist rockets in the south". hundreds of thousands of students are reported to be at home. is this really true? where have i been all week? i normally do not read the news and i hardly ever watch the evening news. how is it that i thought the most urgent story of the day was kim kardashian's divorce??

after glancing through the hamodia and reading about the disasterous winter storm in monsey, the 56 year old man killed in his car by a grad missile, the dismantling of a well known israeli town, and other assorted disturbing news items, i began to shake. i immediately felt a quiver in my stomach and throat. i believe it is called agita.

i am in a state of panic. i don't want to leave the house now. i don't want to go to the family wedding in hadera on sunday, anymore. i don't want to get dressed. i don't want to think about anything. i feel paralyzed. my mother, may she rest in peace, was a politically savy person. at 91, she watched the kinesset hearings everyday and agonized over the news, nightly. i finally forbade her to read the news online. one of the last things she asked before she died, was if we still had a country left.

i try not to put any faith in government. i do not believe in any politicians. i pride myself in not believing the news. i trust in the Lord up above. i pray that things will turn around. i throw simple dinner parties with silly napkins to give each of us a lift. unfortunately, every now and then, i lose myself and begin to doubt my faith. i fall victim to the news.

No Service

it's 11:30 a.m. in the holy city of zefat. i was planning on paying my city tax bill in town this morning but the hours just slipped away. i was in the middle of watching a documentary on the late, michael jackson, and i must have fallen asleep. pretty lame, i know. when i got up, i noticed that there was no longer any cable connection. i know better than to try and deal with them by myself. anyway, i still have internet.

i started the 'south beach' diet this week. i really needed something serious. the problem is that i don't really have anything 'appropriate' in the house to cook. i'm simply, not in the mood to food shop, either. i have been consuming a lot of eggs lately. i don't dare check my cholesterol levels although i know that recent studies okay eating eggies.

last night i threw 2 prepared hamburgers into a can of spicy canned beans. i have a huge appetite and a sedentary lifestyle, unfortunately. that doesn't make for a huge weight loss. i just can't get motivated to move. who knows, i might just walk down to town in a little while and visit a gal pal. maybe she'll feel like cooking up some lunch for us. who knows? stranger things have happened.

i spent the entire day yesterday, doing a bunch of laundry. it was finally sunny after a few days of overcast weather. it actually rained a bit at the beginning of the week. the stone houses are already very cold. i was working on accumulating enough money to pay for half a tank of fuel. however, i have other expenses that take precedence. are you really wondering what could be more important than heat? let's try electricity, and paying off the gardener, for starts. let's not even talk about the water bill, please!

i have been addictively, watching several of 'the real housewife' series here in my home in zefat. i would love to do a spin off of the 'real housewives of zefat'. i wonder if the bravo company would pick it up. why not? we can speak 'lashon hara' with the best of them.

so, when i'm not watching and discussing the 'housewives' with my cronies, i'm watching and getting caught up in sahar's life. the other day, he emphatically, told one of the dogs, that i was not her grandmother. oh please bless the terrible two stage! only a grandmother can get a kick out of it, right? i don't even want to remember when my son was that age. the kids aren't too keen on it, i have to admit. they are really amateurs!

i have been bathing sahar up here all week long. he prefers the jacuzzi bathtub to a shower. can you blame him? when he's ornary and not willing to disrobe, i encourage him to bring a favorite toy or chotchka into the tub and that usually works. i never bathed my son every day. it's too late to call the authorities, as i'm pretty sure that the statute of limitations has expired.

my generation was more laid back and less germaphobic. we believed in letting the skin breath. i never slathered him in baby oil or creams. when he began to smell like a billy goat he got bathed. i don't get this squeaky clean generation, at all.

oh cable just came back. gotta go!